Alexander Dawson School Dining Commons (Sustainability)

The Dawson School’s new Dining Commons is centrally located on the school’s campus in Lafayette, Colorado and serves as a common gathering destination for students of all ages, staff and faculty. 

Carefully sited along the school’s main tree-lined walkway, the 13,770 SF, single-story building provides diners with views across campus in three directions.  The main dining room can also be used for large meetings staff and faculty meetings, community presentations, and even school dances and gatherings.  The architecture strives to blend the indoors and outdoors with a double-sided fireplace, an operable glass wall, and columns whose rhythm emulates the nearby canopied trees. 

The Dawson School Dining Commons is LEED Gold certified awarded 62 points.  Of note, the building achieved a 37% process water use reduction, more than 30% energy cost savings and enhanced refrigerant management.  All of these are particularly challenging to achieve with the full-service commercial kitchen including a cook line, a baking line, two walk-in coolers and a walk-in freezer. 


  • Remediated brownfield site 
  • 43% of total site area is dedicated to open space 
  • 90% of average annual rainfall managed onsite 
  • 58% of nonroof hardscapes mitigate heat island effect 


  • No potable water used for irrigation 
  • 37% indoor water use reduction from baseline 


  • More than 30% energy cost savings reduction from baseline 
  • Fundamental commissioning of building systems 


  • 80% construction waste diversion 
  • 20% of total building materials manufactured with recycled content 
  • 22% of total building materials manufactured and extracted within 500 miles of project site 


  • IAQ managed and monitors throughout construction
  • Materials specified within building envelope meet low emitting criteria
  • Group and individual controls for lighting and temperature
  • 95% of the floor area has a direct line of sight to the outdoors
  • 75% of floor area meet LEED criteria for daylighting 


  • Campus wide green cleaning policy 
  • Campus wide sustainable purchasing and waste management policy 

Learn more about the architecture of Dining Commons at Alexander Dawson School.