Celeste Prestenbach, VP, Facilities Management and New Campus Development for ECA holds the recent IIDA award for Ecotech Institute flanked by her design staff (left to right): Laura Harris, Leah Shepherd, Kristi Julian, Paula Hays and Stacey Willis.
The Best of Institutional award was announced recently at the biennial gala for the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), Alabama chapter.
The ECA group, representing Ecotech Institute's parent company, won their category against nominees including City of Pensacola Downtown Library (Williams Blackstock Architects, Inc.), Maritime Science Center (Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood), State of Louisiana 19th Judicial District Court of Appeal (KPS Group) and Troy Arena (Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood).
Launched in 2011, Ecotech Institute is the nation's first college entirely focused on preparing graduates for careers in the fields of renewable energy, sustainability, and energy efficiency. The former indoor entertainment facility in Aurora, Col. was converted into a $5.8 million LEED Gold certified learning facility. The 62,125 square feet of finished interior space houses a combination of traditional classrooms, office areas, and state‐of‐the‐art technical labs where students receive hands‐on experience in green collar fields.
"Because Ecotech Institute is centered on sustainability, the design concept was to inspire students and promote renewable energy sources," said Celeste Prestenbach, VP, Facilities Management and New Campus Development for ECA.
"This was achieved by the use of sustainable materials and organic forms, as well as images and colors reflective of natural elements."
The building generates over 65,000 Kilowatt hours of electricity annually from onsite clean renewable energy sources.
Asked why she thought Ecotech Institute won the award, Laura Harris, an ECA Facilities Interior Designer, said, "Many of the projects were designed well. What set Ecotech apart was that its design represented the purpose of the building. Not many projects had such a holistic approach, and the LEED Gold certification testifies to its integration of design and functionality."