Their challenge

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.

Our solution

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.