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Elaine Gallagher Adams, AIA

Former Manager (Buildings)


Elaine is a former manager with the buildings program at RMI. She is a project manager and licensed architect with a wide range of experience in building design, historic preservation, energy conservation, and green operations, with expertise in passive solar design and rehabilitating existing buildings. She has a particular interest in achieving energy and resource conservation through effective urban planning and creative building design - learning from historic precedence and integrating RMI’s whole-systems design approach to buildings, campuses, communities, cities and regions.

RMI Projects

  • The Canyons—The Canyons is a 3,500-acre, residential, mixed-use neighborhood that will redefine the paradigm for sustainable nodal development. Rejecting the standard country club focused pattern, the developer has embraced an agricultural community approach - with a thriving organic farmstead at the center of the development and bold sustainability goals for the architecture. RMI is providing sustainability consulting and visioning.
  • Walking Box Ranch—Walking Box Ranch is a unique property, owned by BLM, partly leased by the University of Las Vegas for desert studies, and under protection of the Nature Conservancy. The mix of historic buildings, featuring inherent sustainable features, and a new educational campus provided many opportunities for passive solar design. To date, RMI has provided general sustainability guidance and energy analysis during Concept Design.
  • Florissant Fossil Beds Visitors Center—The Florissant Fossil Beds Visitors Center turns site limitations into an energy advantage - utilizing a cultural resources mandate for built up foundations to provide effective thermal storage beneath the structure. With a real potential for creating a net-zero energy building for the NPS, RMI has provided general sustainability guidance, and energy efficiency analysis during Concept Design.
  • Indianapolis City County Building—The Indianapolis Office of Sustainability invited RMI to convene an Opportunity and Innovation Workshop to kick off a multi-year effort to green the 1962 modern glass City County Building housing City offices, Courts, and police. RMI provided education for, and facilitation of, the participants of the charrette, resulting in a comprehensive report authored by RMI with current building data, workshop outcomes, goals, recommendations, metrics, and priorities.


Elaine’s interest in sustainable design developed while practicing historic preservation in New England—observing ingenious climate adaptations in early colonial architecture. Applying lessons learned from pre-petroleum eras, she has incorporated sustainability for over 22 years. Working with the U.S. General Services Administration, she facilitated sustainable design in U.S. border stations, courthouses, and federal office buildings. As a practicing architect, Elaine has designed energy-efficient new buildings and renovations. She authored a Sustainable Facilities Management Plan for the city of Steamboat Springs, Sustainable Historic Preservation pages of the Whole Building Design Guide, and contributes to various environmental blogs.


  • Master of Architecture, University of Kansas, 1995
  • Bachelor of Architecture, University of Kansas, 1994
  • Study Abroad—Siena, Italy, 1993
  • BA Historic Preservation, Savannah College of Art & Design, 1987
  • Preservation Institute: Nantucket, 1986


  • Licensed Architect, Colorado
  • 2004 Colorado Young Architect of the Year
  • LEED AP Building Design + Construction, 2003

Professional Affiliations

  • American Institute of Architects (AIA)
  • Association for Preservation Technology (APT)
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • USGBC | Colorado Chapter
  • Congress for New Urbanism
  • Participant/Signer: Pocantico Proclamation


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