Cascade Meadow Wetlands & Environmental Science Center

Location: Rochester, MN
Partnerships: LHB
Accolades: LEED Platinum Project.

The Cascade Meadow Wetlands and Environmental Science Center is a non-profit, multi-use, educational facility that serves as a regional resource for environmental education. The 16,000 SF, two-story building with surrounding acres of wetlands is a teaching and demonstration lab for energy resources and water ecology that both students and the general public can experience. Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) is a partner with the Center and has approximately 2,000 SF of exhibit space including an energy fun house that allows visitors to learn about their home energy use, and an infra-red wall display that shows how heat escapes through building walls and windows.

LKPB's design features passive solar heating, a pond loop geothermal heating and cooling system, a solar thermal system for domestic water heating, and two photovoltaic sources. The building contains three electrical services - one for the renewable energy sources, one for the geothermal heating/cooling system, and one for miscellaneous loads. These services and systems are provided with extensive electrical metering to showcase the building performance. LKPB provided power connections to the building for two wind turbines and the photovoltaic sources. One turbine is vertical axial and one is horizontal axial.

With the photovoltaics, geothermal heating/cooling and solar water heating, the building provides a living comparison of the different emerging technologies. The facility is designed to use approximately 53% less energy than code, and has achieved LEED Platinum certification. The $4 million Center opened in November 2010. LKPB has designed geothermal heat pump systems for the University of Minnesota, Three Rivers Park District, Minnesota DNR, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, and the State Bank of Kimball.