On May 8, the Kohler Environmental Center was recognized for achieving Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) certification from the International Living Future Institute. The achievement was celebrated as part of the Living Future 2020 Online Conference.
The 31,325-square-foot LEED Platinum academic and residential
facility, 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. 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.
In addition, the KEC has also set the design standard for future buildings on campus. Notes Associate Head of School Kathleen Lyons Wallace, "Choate Rosemary Hall has changed since the KEC came online in Fall 2012 in that every new building (three) or major renovation (two in progress) since has achieved or aims for LEED Gold certification. And now the KEC has earned ILFI's Net Zero Energy Building certification. The ILFI and USGBC are independent entities but clearly, they share a commitment to transform building design, construction, and operations, and Choate embraces that same commitment."