Aldo Leopold Legacy Center: The "Greenest Building on the Planet"

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Aldo Leopold Legacy Center that is sustainably designed.

Nicolás Boullosa / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

That's what the US Green Building Council Prez said about the new Aldo Leopold Legacy Center when it presented its LEED Platinum certification. "This building does things that people are dreaming about," said council president Rick Fedrizzi. "There are people out there saying, 'Somehow, somewhere a building will be able to do that.' This building is doing it today."

Celebrating the life of Aldo Leopold, considered by many as the father of wildlife management and of the United States’ wilderness system, the Wisconsin building has an amazing list of features; Kubala Washatko Architects note:

-Underground earth tubes supply fresh, tempered air to the facility in all seasons;
-Wood was harvested onsite from trees originally planted by Aldo Leopold;
-the zero net energy building generates over 50,000 kWh of electricity annually.

There is lots of technical information on the site but not much about the actual architecture, and the website designer is so completely crop-crazy that I could not find a single decent picture of the building; the first picture is from the architect's website.

'The Legacy Center has a 39.6 kilowatt (kW) solar electric (photovoltaic) system on its roof, the second largest in Wisconsin. Our PV array consists of 198 panels and can generate 60,000 - 70,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year. Each kWh equals the electricity used to keep a 100 watt light bulb lit for 10 hours."

"The design team thought carefully about the Legacy Center. They considered not only its energy efficient features and green design aspects, but worked meticulously through how the building would fit into the larger context of its local environment, the people who use it, and the landscape of rural Wisconsin: in short, the way the Legacy Center would inhabit its world."

"The pine trees Aldo Leopold and his family planted in 1935-1948 are a major building component in the Legacy Center. In the form of structural columns, beams, and trusses, as well as interior paneling and finish work, Leopold lumber is featured in all three of the Legacy Center buildings."