Photo: Peter Vanderwarker |

"Building as Educator" Deepens Environmental Education Programs for all Ages

The Hitchcock Center for the Environment took on the Living Building Challenge in the construction of its world-class 9,000 square foot environmental education center.

Wood was chosen for several reasons on this project. The first of which was aesthetic. As an environmental education center, the client wanted a building that was contemporary but still “warm” and inviting. Wood was a natural choice to express that atmosphere while utilizing a renewable resource with a minimal carbon footprint.

The Center was designed and structured with a building envelope systems to create an extremely efficient building form a spatial and energy standpoint.

Typically superinsulated buildings such as this one have very thick wall cavities with two rows of studs that can be up to 18″ thick. For the Hitchcock Center designers used a wood frame with solid tongue and groove decking over it to create a structural system that was only 1 1/2″ thick.

The insulation was then applied outside of that to create a completely thermally isolated layer, while the structural layer on the inside also served as the finish surface providing the Center with an outstanding aesthetic look and feel.

Learn more about this Living Building Project.