Environmental Education Center
Salas O’Brien helped an environmental education center in Oak Park, Illinois, reach LEED certification by providing LEED consulting services.
Created in 1912, the Park District of Oak Park exists to partner with the community and serve the recreational needs of Oak Park’s 52,000 residents. Our client has provided nearly 3,000 annual recreation programs and special events over the years, and they use these programs and the facilities they develop to create meaningful experiences for the community and to contribute to Oak Park residents’ quality of life.
The Austin Gardens Environmental Education Center is designed to feature numerous sustainable systems and to meet the high standards of multiple building certification programs, including the Passive House Institutes program and the U.S. Green Building Council LEED program. This education center’s goal is to inspire and teach the community to connect with nature, as well as to demonstrate best practices for how to conserve energy and water. To make sure this education center fully demonstrates good environmental stewardship, the Park District of Oak Park is pursuing the goal of Net Zero certification.
Equipped to handle this challenge, Salas O’Brien provided LEED consulting to assist our client’s pursuit of a Living Building Challenge Zero Energy building certification for the education center. Working closely with all project team members, our consulting work included sustainable design systems like a closed-loop geothermal heating and cooling system, demand and natural ventilation systems and controls, a rainwater collection system for non-potable water, waste heat/energy recovery hot water heating system, high efficiency LED lighting and daylight controls, passive house envelope design, and a 20-kW photovoltaic system.
Thanks to our team’s LEED consulting work, this project has received a Platinum building certification from the U.S. Green Building Council and is currently in the performance review period for Net Energy Building certification.