Schlitz Audubon Nature Center
Schlitz Audubon Nature Center becomes a model of environmental stewardship
At a Glance
- Gold — The LEED® certification achieved upon the opening of the Dorothy K. Vallier Environmental Learning Center.
- 35,000-plus — Number of schoolchildren benefiting from the Learning Center’s educational programs and the Nature Center’s “living classroom” each year.
The challenge: Build a learning center that embodies environmental sustainability
Since its founding in 1971, the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin has given students, teachers and the general public a greater appreciation of their natural surroundings, and motivated them to take better care of the environment. Over the years, the Center’s educational programs and staff grew, but not its facilities. Leaders recognized the need for a new learning center that was sufficiently large and well-equipped to accommodate expanded programming and the thousands of people who partake of those programs every year. At the same time, the Nature Center’s board of directors wanted the new facility to be a shining example of sustainability and concern for the environment. In addition, there would have to be a way to measure and demonstrate its environmental impact to the people who donated funds to make the learning center possible.
The solution: Design a learning center capable of attaining the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification with the help of Johnson Controls
The Center’s executive director attended a LEED conference at Johnson Controls and gained a greater understanding of the LEED process and how that process could enable the Center to meet its objectives. Johnson Controls LEED-accredited experts guided Center leaders in implementing and documenting their project to achieve LEED Gold certification using a broad range of green building solutions and technologies, including:
- a geothermal system utilizing heat pumps and heat recovery units as well as underground wells and the Earth’s own temperature to heat and cool buildings with less dependence on fossil fuels.
- a 10-kilowatt photovoltaic solar power system to meet a substantial amount of the building’s electrical power needs.
- extensive use of daylighting and natural ventilation to reduce energy usage associated with lighting and cooling.
- thicker walls for greater insulation.
- low-flow plumbing to reduce water usage.
- the Johnson Controls Metasys® building management system to integrate and control heating, cooling, and lighting systems for maximum efficiency and comfort.
- green building solutions like the use of recycled materials in the construction of the new learning center.
Results and benefits
The Dorothy K. Vallier Environmental Learning Center – named for the woman who encouraged the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company to donate the 185 acres on which the Nature Center sits –opened in 2003. The facility houses classrooms, a state-of-the-art auditorium, and a nature preschool, which is the first of its kind in the state of Wisconsin. The Learning Center achieved LEED Gold certification in recognition of the facility’s green building practices. It now brings in more than 35,000 school children a year to learn about nature, and offers other educational programs to people of all ages. In sum, it not only encourages environmental stewardship but practices what it preaches.
With our environmental mission in mind, we decided to walk the talk and build a sustainable and environmentally friendly facility.
– Elizabeth Cheek, Executive Director, Schlitz Audubon Nature Center
Johnson Controls can help make all kinds of buildings work more efficiently, sustainably, and profitably. To find out how you can achieve your unique facility’s sustainability and energy efficiency goals, contact us, or try our operational and energy savings calculator today.