I decided to go with Pinax for creating the UH Dorm Energy website. Since removing Pinax apps can be kind of a pain, I started by cloning the CMS project and built up from there. And in my short experience with it, I'm beginning to think that it is the better way to go.
Editing some text within the Kukui Cup page.
I created individual pages for the different tabs and started laying out the blocks. After about an hour or two, I reproduced most of the pages in the set of mockups. There's still some work to do as some styles may need to be changed. However, for the most part, the layout is there.
Mockup of the front page in Balsamiq.
Reproduction of the front page using Pinax
Of course, we don't need everything that Pinax has. I replaced the login functionality in Pinax with django-cas, a plugin for CAS authentication. I used that to login and logout with our UH usernames. It works fairly well out of the box and didn't require any additional setup. I still kept the Pinax login, which could be useful when I'm testing the different user roles.
I have something that looks okay, but it still needs a little bit more work. My next tasks are to continue mocking up the user page and to start creating some Django apps for the functionality that we need.