The Trexler Green Environmental Center was conceived as an educational facility to align with the philosophy of the Trexler Trust in maintaining the natural beauty of the environment through preservation and thoughtful development. Additionally, the County of Lehigh sought a leadership role in sustainability and environmentally sound design for all of their buildings, and chose this project to jump start the initiative.
The building's enclosure is a combination of solid lumber products, High R-value insulation systems, both at the wall cavity and the roof. Ten-inch thick structural insulated panels are used as the roof system and high performance Low E insulated glass window walls. While straight forward in design and technology, the building shell is very efficient in its construction methodology and energy use. The building shell was constructed mid-winter in approximately six weeks.
The electrical system is primarily served by the 14 Kilowatt photovoltaic system on the roof. Secondary power is provided by the local electric utility, and during off peak hours when usage is less than production, the excess power is put back into the power grid.
A geothermal well system is used as the heat exchanger for the HVAC system, and a rain water collection system flushes toilets thereby conserving potable water.
The building seeks a Silver rating, and may qualify for Gold, from the USGBC LEED® energy rating system.
As an educational center it showcases the practical application and potential of various renewable energy and alternative energy systems. The best performing systems and sustainable design practices will be adapted for future Lehigh County new building and renovation projects.