The Kohler Environmental Center at Choate Rosemary Hall recently earned the International Living Future Institute's (ILFI) Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) certification. The Kohler Environmental Center (KEC), designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, is a leading-edge environmental research and education center. It is home to the Environmental Immersion Program, a year-long residential and interdisciplinary program open to fifth and sixth form students who have a passion for understanding and preserving our natural environment.
According to ILFI's website, zero energy is recognized worldwide as one of the highest aspirations in energy performance in the built environment. The International Living Future Institute's (ILFI) Zero Energy Building (ZE) Certification™ was created to allow projects to demonstrate zero energy performance, building an advanced cohort of projects with the integrity of third-party performance certification. The ILFI Zero Energy Standard is as follows: One hundred percent of the building's energy needs on a net annual basis must be supplied by on-site renewable energy. No combustion is allowed.This certification goes beyond the scope of Zero Energy Building (ZE) Certification™ by also meeting the project location constraints in the ILFI's Limits to Growth imperative and by incorporating elements of beauty and education throughout the building.
The KEC is the first Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) certified project in Connecticut; the largest certified project in New England; and the 2nd largest certified project (at any level) in the Northeast, behind Etsy Headquarters located in Brooklyn, N.Y. Achieving this certification is a testament to the design of the building as well as to the choices that the resident students make in order to minimize energy use.