The Aldo Leopold Legacy Center is a carbon-neutral, net zero energy building (ZEB). Because of the efficient building techniques used, the Legacy Center requires very little energy. The Legacy Center’s 39.6-kW rooftop photovoltaic (PV) array produces roughly 10% more than the energy needed to operate the building over the course of a year. The centre is rated as LEED platinum by one of the Green Building Rating Systems – LEED followed around the world. Specifically, the Legacy Center qualifies as a:
- Site ZEB: The building produces at least as much energy as it uses in a year when accounted for at the site. The Aldo Leopold Legacy Center produces all of its needed electricity through on-site PV. It does burn wood in the winter for heat, but this resource is harvested locally and is a renewable resource used on-site.
- Source ZEB: Building produces at least as much energy as it uses in a year when accounted for at the source. The Legacy Center is considered a source ZEB because the energy generated on-site through PV and wood is greater than the energy used when accounted for at the source.
- Emissions (carbon) ZEB: The building produces at least as much emissions-free renewable energy as it uses from emission-producing energy sources annually. The excess renewable energy the Legacy Center produces, along with on-site carbon sequestration through its forested land, offsets the carbon emissions resulting from the project’s operations.
- Location: Baraboo, Wisconsin
- Architect: Kubala Washatko Architects
- Climate Region: 6A: Cold – Humid
- Building type(s): Interpretive Center, Commercial office
- New Construction
- 11,900 ft2 (1,100 m2)
- Project scope: 3 1-story buildings
- Rural setting
- Completed: April 2007
- Rating: U.S. Green Building Council LEED-NC, v.2/v.2.1–Level: Platinum (61 points)
- Rating: Zero Energy Building
The Foundation located the project on a previously disturbed site, which it is restoring to native ecosystems. The project team used crushed gravel in place of blacktop or concrete paving, increasing rainwater infiltration and blending the developed areas into the surrounding landscape.
The native landscaping requires no irrigation. Waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets, and efficient faucets reduce water consumption by 65%. An on-site well provides potable water, and an existing septic system treats wastewater.
Thinning the Leopold forests improved forest health while providing 90,000 board feet of wood for use in the project. More than 75% of all wood used in the project was certified to Forest Stewardship Council standards, and 60% of all materials were manufactured within 500 miles of the project site.
The Legacy Centre was designed to use 70% less energy than a comparable conventional building. A 39.6-kW rooftop photovoltaic array produces more than 110% of the project’s annual electricity needs. This excess renewable energy, along with on-site carbon sequestration, offsets the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the project’s operations.
Daylighting eliminates the need for electric lighting during most of the day. Ground-source heat pumps connected to a radiant slab provide heating and cooling, and an earth-tube system provides tempered fresh air.