In early 2011, the Kellogg Building Committee and Black River Design, the architect, began design efforts with a thorough evaluation of needs for a project to house the Center for Environmental Studies and the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives. The Committee determined the program requirements, found opportunities for synergy among spaces, and minimized energy demands of the combined Centers. Integrated Eco Strategy a consulting firm with growing expertise in Living Building Challenge buildings was hired to help shepherd the college through the LBC process.
In February 2015, the building opened. Staff and faculty moved into their offices, student groups started convening in the various meeting rooms, and students soon found their favorite corners in which to study.
The building program maximizes the use of space, minimizes energy and water demand, and uses on-site solar energy and rooftop water collection to produce 100% of the energy and water required for the environmental center. Offices are small, but sized appropriately for their planned use. Larger rooms play triple duty – they serve as classroom and meeting rooms during the academic day, student study spaces and work rooms in the evenings, and social and informal gathering spaces for faculty, students, staff and alumni throughout the year. (Click on any slide below to see an enlarged view).
Planning, Design, & Construction
The new ’66 Environmental Center is a laboratory for studying the process of integrated design, green building strategies, and renewable energy. Faculty, staff, and students (and campus planners and project managers) used the design experience and are using the constructed building as an opportunity to study and understand the complex interplay of user requirements, form, and performance. Critical to the success of our educational goals and for sustainable energy and water use is that occupants and visitors understand how the buildings’ systems work and how their own behaviors affect performance. The kitchen, connected to both the garden and the south-facing patio, is a key gathering place where cooking, baking, and preserving with friends generates conversations about good food and its energy and water demands.