The Park District of Oak Park’s Austin Gardens Environmental Education Center, a LEED Platinum facility, features interior wood trim salvaged from trees removed from parkland due to infestation by the emerald ash borer or old age.
The 2,100-square-foot facility, which opened last June on the 3.6-acre Austen Gardens urban forest, is used for children’s nature day camps, environmental education programs and other events.
The trim was repurposed from trees removed from Rehm Park and milled by Sterling Lumber of Phoenix, IL.
Other LEED-certified features of the energy efficient and sustainably designed facility include:
- Geo-thermal system for heating, air conditioning and comfort control.
- Photovoltaic array on the roof to supply the projected energy needs of the building – net zero (uses sun energy)
- Greenroof – (absorbs rainfall, reduces heat loads, reduces carbon dioxide and produces oxygen.)
- Storm water harvesting through a cistern and diversion for toilet flushing.
- Raingarden/bioswales to absorb the cistern overflow and the excess rain run-off as a feature in the garden.
- Very energy efficient mechanical systems in the building.