A Building for North Carolina
The 29,656-square-foot Allen Education Center consists of three major sections connected by covered breezeways. All systems and materials were designed to minimize environmental impact and support human health. This project set a new standard for environmentally friendly public buildings in our state and region and is the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certified public building in North Carolina. The following is a list of important green features of the Education Center, which qualified it for LEED Platinum Certification:
Site Selection and Design
- The building site was chosen to protect existing vegetation, minimize earth moving, and make the most of solar heating and cooling design.
- South-facing orientation allows for a passive-solar building design, where broad roof overhangs provide shade in summer but let light in during the colder winter months.
- The buildings were designed around the existing grade of the land
- The largest, oldest living trees were protected, and 318,000 square feet of existing natural habitat were preserved.
- Many native plants that had to be moved during construction were replanted in the new landscapes after it was completed.
Water-efficient native landscaping
- We installed low-flow faucets and showerheads
- First UNC site to use reclaimed water from a nearby OWASA treatment plant for toilet flushing and other non-potable uses
- Eight cisterns collect rainwater for use in irrigation
- Rainwater gardens and retention swales use water-loving plants to capture and filter stormwater before it reaches nearby Meeting-of-the-Waters creek
Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation
- 34 geothermal wells cool and heat the building with five miles of loop “plumbing,” bringing the earth’s 55-degree temperature to the surface. There are 26 500-foot deep wells, four 400-foot deep wells, and four 100-foot deep wells.
- Green elevators that work on traction are more energy efficient, and don’t use hydraulic fluids
- Sophisticated building management system to track, manage, and report energy use, water use, and other performance features
- 84 photovoltaic panels cover a south-facing roof
- The building maximizes natural lighting to reduce dependency on artificial light
- Sensors automatically dim lights when daylight is strong or when no movement is detected
- To minimize transportation costs and carbon dioxide emissions, and to stimulate local economies, 31% of construction materials were processed or manufactured within 500 miles of the Garden
- On-site trees infected with pine beetles were turned into 5,200 board feet of pine lumber
- Atlantic white cedar for siding was salvaged from Hurricane Isabel damage in the Dismal Swamp
- Hardwood flooring was rescued from a tear-down in Orange County
- Fill dirt was brought from a local quarry and other sites
- 372 tons (97%) of construction waste was diverted from the landfill for use by the Carnivore Preservation Trust, Wake County school system, Boy Scout troops, and other NCBG projects.
- Natural field stone came from local sources
Furnishings and Finishes
- Paints, sealants, and adhesives were chosen to be low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- Interior construction used composite wood free from urea-formaldehyde
- No old growth timber was used or disturbed in the building
- Offices have daylight and operable windows
- Clean air systems with air quality monitoring
- Universal access design
Windows that Open
- Clerestory windows provide natural ambient light and ventilation in the Pegg Exhibit Hall and Reeves Auditorium.
- Office windows are operable for ventilation and to reduce reliance on central heat/air-conditioning.
- 34 photovoltaic panels cover the south-facing roof and generate renewable energy that feeds into a dual metering system.
- These panels capture solar energy and generate 20% or more of the power used in the building.
- Geothermal heat-exchange system that reduces energy use for heating and cooling.
- Circulating water through underground pipes takes advantage of consistent temperatures that are “cool” in the summer and “warm” in the winter.
- Seven above-ground cisterns and one bel0w-ground cistern collect and store rainwater from the roof.
- The water is stored for irrigation purposes.
- Rainwater is retained in ponds and swales. By slowing the water down and letting it filter through vegetation, pollutants are removed and most of the water is retained on the site.
- Porous pavers and underground storage of storm water that falls on parking areas.