Project DescriptionThe two main functional components of this 3,100 square foot, one story building are classroom space and administrative office space, essentially forming two zones separated by a central corridor. The classroom area has been developed as flexible space with folding partitions that can form up to three separate spaces for inside instruction. The administrative area includes a common space for several work stations and file cabinets, a private office, a room for office equipment and supplies, and a kitchen. The lobby and corridor have been set up to be not only circulation space but also as places for displays and education. A large covered front porch has been developed as an outdoor classroom and staging area for educational forays onto the Conservancy grounds. The Center has been designed with a “green roof” which is covered with soil and planted with low-maintenance plants for conservation and energy reasons.
The building has been designed with a continuous thermal barrier around its entire conditioned space. Recycled cellulose insulation completely fills the wall cavities between wood studs and has been laid above ceilings, while ridged insulation boards have been installed under floor slab areas. Super-efficient triple-paned fiberglass windows with two layers of low-E film have been installed to minimize heat loss. The “green roof” prevents the overheating of the attic space and reduces cooling loads during the warmer seasons.
The building has been oriented on the site so that the longest side of the building faces south. More and larger windows have been placed on the south wall to allow winter sun to penetrate interior spaces and warm materials including the concrete slab floor that can store heat and lessen the demand on the heating system. Broad roof overhangs shade those windows during the summer, preventing overheating.
The classroom and administrative spaces of the Center include high-efficiency HOT5 direct-indirect fluorescent lighting that reduces the number of fixtures required to adequately light the spaces while using less energy to run. Their long lamp life also offers maintenance savings. Lobby and corridor areas are illuminated using energy-saving compact fluorescent recessed lighting and low-voltage track lighting.
The administrative areas have the advantage of an abundance of natural light that reduces the amount of artificial light needed. Daylighting also has the extra benefit of being very desirable to users and helps to create spaces that people want to inhabit.
Finishes were minimized in order to conserve materials and keep the budget low. The concrete floor slabs ere pigmented and sealed to eliminate the necessity of using other surface treatments. Window and other wood trims were kept to a minimum.
Materials made from waste have been incorporated throughout the Center. On the exterior, engineered lumber siding panels have been made from recycled wood fibers and many components of the green roofing system have been made with recycled materials. Inside, the cellulose insulation in the walls and above the ceiling is made from recycled newspaper and the cabinets have been constructed using wheatstraw board made from waste material.
Reduction of rainwater run-off and heat islanding:
The “green roof” that covers the main portion of the Center significantly reduces the amount of rainwater the building sheds, thus reducing run-off into the landscape. This roof also eliminates the heat build-up usually associated with roofing and so reduces the possible affect on area microclimates.