CHPS Colorado high-performance schools program open for public review

February 12, 2009 |

The Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) made a new assessment tool for green schools in Colorado available for public review today.  The tool, called the Colorado CHPS Criteria (CO-CHPS), creates a benchmark for the design and construction of Colorado high performance school buildings that are efficient, comfortable, environmentally responsible and healthy spaces to learn.

"CHPS is excited to be able to offer a new tool to help Colorado schools and districts to invest wisely in green schools.  The Colorado CHPS Criteria is a state-specific high performance school standard that responds to the priorities and needs of Colorado’s schools,” said Charles Eley, executive director of CHPS. "We invite all stakeholders to participate in making this tool the best it can be by submitting comments during the public review period.”

For the past year, a Colorado-based advisory committee, representing a broad range of school design and construction stakeholders, developed CO-CHPS. The committee, in partnership with the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office, created a CHPS Criteria to the unique codes and regulations, climates, opportunities, and local priorities of the state.  The committee was also charged to ensure that the spirit and stringency of the CHPS standard was upheld.

“The Colorado CHPS committee has developed a tool that enables K-12 schools and districts to design and build energy efficient, high performing schools,” said Tom Plant, Director of the Governor’s Energy Office.  “The CO-CHPS Criteria sets a new standard for energy performance and will help schools reduce operating costs, conserve resources and provide healthy and productive environments for students and staff.”

CO-CHPS applies not only to the design and construction of new schools, but also to major modernizations and additions to existing school campuses.  Schools that pursue recognition using CO-CHPS will be supported by CHPS throughout the design and construction process.

Colorado CHPS’ prerequisites, which are strategies that are required of participating schools, set the most stringent bar yet for any CHPS state. The committee's strong interest in operational savings and green house gas emission reduction strategies led to focus on expanding and enhancing the CHPS energy category. Participating Colorado schools will have to perform 25% better than the ASHRAE 90.1-2007 baseline and perform enhanced commissioning measures. A new concept called FLEX Energy, developed by the CO-CHPS committee, provides schools with the tools to design facilities prepared to affordably adapt to changing energy economic scenarios. CO-CHPS is also the first Criteria to make use of CHPS’ well-known low-emitting materials credit as a prerequisite for all schools emphasizing the need for improved indoor air quality.

“The Colorado CHPS Criteria will lead us to the schools of tomorrow,” said Jeff Arnold, President of the Colorado School Plant Managers Association, and a member of the CO-CHPS Advisory Committee.  “Integrated design and forward thinking will benefit all citizens of Colorado for generations to come.”

CO-CHPS will help to ensure that Colorado schools have access to appropriate tools and resources to build facilities that can improve student and staff health, improve student performance, increase a sense of community, reduce environmental impact, and reduce operating expenses. Colorado joins ten other states that have adaptations of the CHPS Criteria, including California, Washington, New York, Massachusetts and many northeastern states.

The CO-CHPS Criteria can be downloaded and commented on by visiting:  This is the first public review period and comments are due by March 30, 2009.  Colorado schools will be able to use CO-CHPS after the public review period has been completed and the CO-Criteria is approved by the CHPS Board of Directors.

CHPS is a 501c(3) non-profit headquartered in San Francisco.  For more information about CHPS, visit

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