This LEED gold-rated science building demonstrates the commitment Wheaton College has to sustainability and to the stewardship of God’s creation. Making a science building energy efficient is challenging, yet worthwhile because science is a large consumer of energy. Wheaton acknowledges its partners in this successful project: Payette Associates, FGM Architects, and Turner Construction. Many people will enjoy these spaces, be shaped by them, and learn about careful, sustainable planning and construction.
General and Site Concerns
Initial planning of the Science Center began with careful selection and design of the site. To promote community connectivity within the college campus, the building is located next to the Todd M. Beamer Student Center and within walking distance of residence halls. The campus itself is situated in a residential neighborhood, near public services and transportation. To further promote alternative transportation, the Science Center has several bike racks and designated parking for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles. No new parking spaces were added to the site.
To reduce the building’s impact on the surrounding environment, measures were taken to minimize heat island effects and control storm water. All pavement and sidewalks are either made of a reflective material or shaded to reduce solar gain. The majority of the roof also is composed of high-reflectance materials. A wetland basin was installed, controlling the quantity and quality of stormwater on the site and creating a habitat for natural prairie grasses. Forty percent of the site is designated vegetated open space to keep the campus open and connected to the outdoors. As a final step in reducing the local impact, care was taken to control erosion and sedimentation during construction.
Reduced Energy Consumption
The Science Center uses 25% less energy than the typical standard in its class. This was achieved by implementing design techniques such as sun shades on the south facade, and using energy-efficient mechanical systems. In addition, 70% of the building's energy is provided by Green-e certified renewable energy providers. Water use also has been reduced by 41% over the baseline case by installing water-efficient fixtures.
In an effort to control waste, steps have been made both to reduce the use of new or non-renewable materials and to encourage sustainable recycling practices. During construction, at least 75% of the non-hazardous construction debris was recycled or salvaged. Sixteen percent of the new materials used contain recycled content, and 29% were produced locally, decreasing the cost and energy waste of transportation. Some of the recycled materials used include structural steel, bricks, and ceiling tiles. Finally, at least 50% of the wood used on the project is FSC certified, indicating that it has been harvested using sustainable forestry practices. Wheaton College also maintains a recycling program throughout its campus, with bins for paper, cardboard, plastic, and glass. The Science Center has several areas designated specifically for recycling collection.
To reduce the exposure to chemicals and improve the quality of the indoor environment, materials with low emission levels were selected, including paint, adhesives, carpets, and pads. The Science Center meets high ventilation standards and minimizes pollutant entry through the use of floor mats, filters, and separate chemical areas. Wheaton College also maintains a smoke-free campus, as legislated by the State of Illinois and City of Wheaton. A policy has been established to maintain this environmental quality through the use of green cleaning techniques, requiring certified equipment and cleaning solutions as well as custodial training and regular maintenance schedules.
Lighting in each space is flexible and controlled by occupancy sensors to adjust the light levels for varied needs. Temperature and humidity controls can also be accessed by users for flexible needs. Input from faculty, students, and staff help to determine if the building is maintaining the designed expectations of indoor air quality, lighting levels, and controlled temperature fluctuations. Adjustments and corrections will be made as required.