A newly renovated and expanded Kellogg House is set to open in the fall. In addition to providing classroom, meeting and study spaces, a reading room, a kitchen and gardens, the building will be home to the Center for Environmental Studies and the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives. In short, it will be a living laboratory for sustainability.With fundraising under way, including plans for the Class of ’66 to dedicate its 50th reunion gift to the project, the new environmental center is seeking Living Building Challenge (LBC) designation, the most rigorous performance standard for sustainable design. The center will be one of the most complex LBC projects to date, combining historic preservation, extensive urban agriculture and year-round, often round-the-clock, use.
To be LBC certified, the project will have to meet ambitious performance requirements over 12 months of continuous occupancy in these seven areas:
LEARNING AND GROWING
The building will be located in the central campus corridor, between Hollander Hall and the new Sawyer Library. Edible landscape will offer ample opportunities to learn about permaculture and organic approaches to urban agriculture. The kitchen will support produce preservation and community gatherings.
RENEWABLE AND GREEN
Photovoltaic panels mounted on the ground and roof—combined with efficient air-source heat pumps, a tight building envelope and thoughtful use of electronics and lighting—are expected to produce at least as much energy as the building consumes.
A CLOSED SYSTEM
100 percent of water for drinking, cleaning and gardening will be collected and treated on site. Rainwater captured on rooftops will be purified using ultraviolet light. Low-flow fixtures and composting toilets will minimize water demand, and used water will be treated in sub-surface wetlands. A monitoring system will help building occupants learn about and adjust consumption.
A BREATH OF FRESH AIR
Interior spaces will be healthy and invigorating. Large windows will let in light and fresh air, fostering a strong connection to the natural environment. Indoor air quality will be enhanced with the use of non-toxic materials and finishes.
SAFE, LOCALLY SOURCED
Building materials will have minimal negative impact on human and ecosystem health. Wood will be sustainably harvested, local and nontoxic. Preserving the historic Kellogg House and using as much salvaged and recycled building material as possible will help to minimize the project’s carbon footprint.
HUMAN SCALE, HUMAN SPACES
The center will promote human-scaled interaction, exploration and engagement with its accessible indoor spaces and surrounding habitats and gardens.
PRESERVE AND INSPIRE
Renovation and expansion plans will re-envision in a harmonious and balanced way an eclectic mix of architectural styles accumulated as the building changed purposes and locations in the years since its construction as Williams’ first president’s house in 1794.