Cascade Meadows is Rochester’s first LEED Platinum building

Big congrats to Rochester’s first and only LEED Platinum Building.

Cascade Meadow Wetlands & Environmental Science Center is Rochester’s First LEED® Platinum Building

Rochester, Minnesota (February 9, 2012) – Cascade Meadow Wetlands & Environmental Science Center announced today that it has achieved LEED® Platinum certification, the highest level of certification established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI).  Cascade Meadow is the only Platinum project of the five LEED-certified projects in Rochester and one of only nine projects in Minnesota to attain Platinum certification. 

The Minneapolis firm LHB provided the architectural, landscape architectural, and civil and structural engineering design services for the project. LKPB Engineers, Inc. of Saint Paul designed the mechanical and electrical engineering systems.  Rochester-based Alvin E. Benike, Inc. provided general construction services with specialty services furnished by HiMEC Mechanical, Nietz Electric, and Fraser Construction.  McGhie & Betts, Inc. of Rochester supplied civil engineering services plus wetland restoration planning and development services, along with ongoing wetland management consultation.  

Opened in June 2011, the 16,000-square-foot Cascade Meadow building houses exhibit galleries with interactive displays exploring wetland ecology and preservation as well as sustainable building practices.  The building is also home to exhibits curated by Cascade Meadow’s partners Rochester Public Utilities, Rochester Public Works Department, Rochester Water Reclamation Plant, and Zumbro Watershed Partnership, which examine topics related to energy and water usage and conservation, stormwater management, and wastewater treatment.  The facility also has a large, multimedia-equipped meeting room, a classroom, and a conference room plus office space for staff and educators.  These features support Cascade Meadow’s endeavors to connect individuals and communities through water, energy, and sustainability education. 

By employing innovative design elements and selecting regionally appropriate materials, Cascade Meadow is an outstanding example of environmentally sustainable construction. 

  • Passive solar design reduces solar heat gain and lowers cooling demand in the summer through the strategic placement of windows and overhangs while the south facing windows allow the sun’s warmth to enter the building in the winter thereby reducing heating costs.  Moreover, the prevalence of windows decreases dependence on artificial lighting. 
  • Structural Insulated Panels (SIP’s) and Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF’s) maintain stable interior temperatures for reduced energy costs
  • Interior finishes utilize sustainably harvested wood products, incorporate recycled materials such as glass, plastic, ceramic, and nylon, and meet standards for low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Cascade Meadow is designed to use 53% less energy than current building code standards.  Key components of the site design and educational program are the renewable energy systems implemented throughout the site.

  • An “energy trail” adjacent to the building offers visitors a demonstration of a solar hot water system, three photovoltaic panels, and both horizontal- and vertical-axis wind turbines.
  • In another part of the site, geothermal coils are located in a newly-created ten-acre lake and provide both heating and cooling for the building.

Cascade Meadow’s extensive stormwater management program features substantial use of native plants, green roofs, a bio-retention cell system, and pervious pavements making it a model of best practices.  Targeted for completion in 2013, Cascade Meadow is restoring approximately 90 acres of wetlands, showcasing seven of the eight types of wetlands native to Minnesota plus three upland (dry) ecosystems and a Monarch butterfly habitat.  Once finished, visitors will be able to access these beautiful and diverse landscapes through a two-mile-long system of trails. 

Cascade Meadow Wetlands & Environmental Science Center
2900 19th Street NW
Rochester, MN 55901

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