Solar Thermal (hot water)
To meet its domestic hot water needs, Cascade Meadow chose a system that uses sunlight to heat the water. The solar thermal array is made up of two 4-ft. by 8-ft. flat plate collectors. It is unclear exactly how much energy the system will save Cascade Meadow, but the monitoring system will allow the facility to determine energy savings after several months of operational data.
Geothermal (indoor environment heating/cooling)
Cascade Meadow selected a geothermal heat pump system to provide in-floor heating and cooling for the building. The system transfers heat to and from the lake at Cascade Meadow. Uniquely, the water temperatures in the lake are fairly consistent throughout the year, as compared to the wide variations of typical ponds. The building’s heating and cooling system is designed to work at high efficiency with geothermal heat pumps. Once the monitoring system is fully operational, the facility will track heating and cooling costs for use in comparisons with buildings built to code standards.
The concrete advantage
Concrete was a key sustainable component in the design process of the facility, including Insulating Concrete Forms (ICF) and Structural Insulated Panels (SIP). “We used a mix of both to demonstrate the differences,” Benike says. “The reason ICFs were chosen on three of four exterior walls was because of the increased thermal mass.”
Along with the energy efficiency generated by the thermal mass of the ICFs, the concrete mix also incorporated a supplementary cementious material (SCM) to replace part of the cement mix. The mix utilized a 50% fly ash replacement. Concrete mixes that contain SCMs are considered more environmentally friendly because they reduce the amount of concrete in a mix, an ingredient that’s creation produces CO2.
A weather-resistant, vapor permeable air barrier was also installed on the exterior of the building. “Both ICF and SIP technology are air barriers by themselves, but we made sure we had an air barrier at the transition of materials,” he says. “The other function was to shield the ICFs from UV degradation due to sun exposure. Lastly, because we have a rainscreen cladding system, water will be allowed behind the outer cladding. The green wrap acts as a drainage plane for that water.”
Other concrete features include precast floor panels, in-floor radiant heating, integral color and tapered edge seatwalls. With several different stormwater management features onsite, an area of pervious concrete was used to demonstrate another available stormwater management system.
Ways of reducing waste
The materials and products used weren’t the only areas to see efforts for sustainability. Recycling took place during project construction, resulting in more than 90% of waste having been diverted from a landfill. One of the most significant recycled materials was concrete.
Although the project used paper, computers and BlackBerry Smartphones were common tools used on this project. Benike also used BIM (Building Information Modeling) on limited areas of the project. “We are beginning to dabble in BIM,” he says. “On this project we modeled portions of the mechanical room to ensure that there were minimal conflicts between ductwork, electrical and sprinkler space requirements. We also had a model of the building for a visualization tool.”