The Aldo Leopold Legacy Center is the new headquarters and conference center for the Aldo Leopold Foundation, a prominent environmental organization. The 12,000-square-foot complex includes office and meeting spaces, an exhibit hall, a library and archive, and a three-season classroom.
Certified LEED Platinum, the Center received 61 of 61 points submitted, the highest count yet recorded in the LEED rating system. In April, the American Institute of Architects' Committee on the Environment named it one of America's Top Ten Green Projects.
Built to the highest standards of energy efficiency and sustainability, the center is carbon-neutral and “zero net” energy in design. It will produce more than 110% of annual building energy needs. Solar energy is harvested through a 39 kw photovoltaic system, an active water heating panel, passive heating strategies, and day-lighting.
One of the major energy efficiency innovations was the use of 550 feet of large, underground concrete tubes to pre-treat ventilation air and to provide fresh, tempered air year-round. The tubes are made of concrete because it offers higher thermal transfer and minimizes potential for mold growth.
Inside, concrete floors connected to the ground source heat pump provide radiant heating and cooling, and the higher thermal mass of concrete flooring reduces temperature fluctuations. The stained concrete floors create a beautiful surface and reduce the need for additional finishing materials such as carpeting.
Board-formed concrete construction is flexible and saves money, while contributing to aesthetics. Locally sourced fly ash reduces the percentage of cement (a higher carbon footprint material) used in construction.