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May 8, 2020

Choate Rosemary Hall's Kohler Environmental Center Certified Net-Zero Energy

Choate Rosemary Hall's Kohler Environmental Center Certified Net-Zero Energy

May 8, 2020. Robert A.M. Stern Architects' Kohler Environmental Center at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut, has been certified a Net Zero Energy Building by the International Living Future Institute, confirming it as the largest certified net-zero building in New England. The achievement was celebrated today as part of the Living Future 2020 Online Conference.

The 31,325-square-foot LEED-Platinum academic and residential facility, designed to accommodate cohorts of up to 20 students for a total-immersion environmental curriculum and living experience, opened in 2012. Set in the midst of 268 acres of meadows, agricultural fields, second-growth forest, and wetlands, the Kohler Center allows students to learn from the site's exceptional biodiversity and range of habitats. As students live at the center and take their classes and meals there, the building offers them control of their own environment: feedback from the building's monitoring systems enables students to teach themselves important lessons about how to live responsibly by encouraging them to cooperate with each other to minimize their energy footprint. The goal of the Kohler Environmental Center is to teach environmental stewardship through the sustainable design of the building itself, which include geothermal heat pumps; a high-performance building shell; low water use plumbing fixtures by Kohler; and rainwater harvesting for greenhouse irrigation. 100% of the building's annual energy needs are provided by a 250-kilowatt photovoltaic array, and roof-mounted thermal solar panels. For more information on the Kohler Center, please see this link.

"Choate Rosemary Hall has changed since the Kohler Environmental Center 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!" said Kathleen Lyons Wallace, Associate Head of Choate Rosemary Hall. "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."

"Once again we thank the Choate Rosemary Hall community for entrusting us with the design of this extraordinary laboratory for living, and Herb and Natalie Kohler for making it all possible," said Graham S. Wyatt, FAIA, Partner at Robert A.M. Stern Architects. 

The design team, led by Robert A.M. Stern, Graham S. Wyatt, and Kevin M. Smith, also included Atelier Ten as sustainability consultant and Kohler Ronan as MEP engineer.

The International Living Future Institute is an environmental NGO committed to catalyzing the transformation toward communities that are socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative. For more information, please see this link.

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