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LEED O+M: Existing Buildings v3 - LEED 2008

Prairiewoods Spirituality Center

120 East Boyson Road
Hiawatha, IA 52233
United States
Map

LEED Gold 2012

 

Goals and motivations

Strategies

Outcomes

Lessons learned

 

 

Goals and motivations

What were the top overarching goals and objectives?

Bruce Hamous

LEED Consultant, OPN Architects

Changing cleaning supplies was a major project goal. Prairiewoods wanted to use Green Label products that were more environmentally friendly and had low volatile organic compounds (VOC). This was something the Center was not already doing that was introduced to them in the pursuit of LEED certification. In the end, 73% of Prairiewoods cleaning materials met the USGBC criteria for green products.

Another goal was to organize the Center's recycling program. It was originally a haphazard exercise and they were not quantifying how much they recycled. The facility had more transient visitors then people who actually worked there. Installing containers to separate recyclables not only helped coordinate the program, but educated people visiting the facility.

The last two goals attribute to the Franciscan Sister's top sustainability goal which was to educate the community about sustainability - something that is deeply engraved in the Franciscan lifestyle. All the endeavors made to lower their ecological footprint were viewed as protecting God's creation. This was an important concept that the sisters wanted to convey to their visitors and spread throughout the community.

 


 

Strategies

What were the most notable strategies used to earn LEED credits?

Bruce Hamous

LEED Consultant, OPN Architects

The Project Team mentioned that a unique strategy that Prairiewoods utilizes is their enormous solar array. They have a 120 foot long and 10 foot high array with solar panels that generate 24,600 kilowatt-hours of energy each year. This accounts for 50% of the energy used for the main building and helped them obtain all of LEED's renewable energy points.

Photo by Bruce Hamous

Photo by Bruce Hamous

Prairiewoods achieved all of the LEED credits for water efficient landscaping. They used limited turf grass and planted all flora that is native or naturalized in the local area. This limited irrigation needs.

Photo by Bruce Hamous

Photo by Bruce Hamous

 


 

Outcomes

Aside from LEED certification, what do you consider key project successes?

Bruce Hamous

LEED Consultant, OPN Architects

There are a number of different attributes of Prairiewoods that applied to the Sisters' aspirations but didn't contribute to earning LEED credits. For example, two hermitages located on the land have a combination of walls constructed with straw bales and surrounding earth berms. This provides high insulation values, while utilizing low impact, natural materials that can be sourced locally. Their electrical power is 100% solar and their sewage system is completely independent from the city. They have a complete net-zero foot print. Another success was their use of a solar hot water heater to heat water for their guest house and the surrounding ground to grow specific herbs year round. Prairiewoods has also become a part of a program called I-Renew which they conduct workshops and demonstrations on constructing photovoltaic energy systems, passive solar and alternative building materials.

Photo by Bruce Hamous

Photo by Bruce Hamous

 


 

Lessons Learned

Bruce Hamous

LEED Consultant, OPN Architects

The Prairiewoods Spirituality Center already had many environmentally friendly ongoing operations before attempting LEED certification. The facility was using low-flow fixtures to increase water efficiency and had been designed for ample natural lighting. Recycling programs and their food co-op were established when the Center was founded. These practices were already rooted in the facilities operations. The most obvious element that helped Prairiewoods become certified was the fact that Bruce was brought on as a LEED consultant entirely as a volunteer. He advised and managed all the documentation around his busy schedule and even made the effort to become a board member of the spirituality center.

Photo by Bruce Hamous

Photo by Bruce Hamous

One of the most challenging aspects of the LEED process was accounting for the amount of energy that was being saved by their previously installed solar array. The renewable energy produced was distributed across the entire campus grid. Bruce needed to install multiple new meters to ensure full energy savings was accounted for the all the Center's buildings within the defined LEED project boundary. This was not an easy task for someone who had never been involved with a LEED project - it is a unique aspect of LEED. The entirety of the project was a lesson learned for The Project Team because it was their first EB+OM project. They were constantly adjusting the learning curve. It was important for the members of the center to fully commit to the LEED process and the monitoring operations performance in order to help get certified.

Photo by Bruce Hamous

Photo by Bruce Hamous

 

What was the value of applying LEED to this project?

Bruce Hamous

LEED Consultant, OPN Architects

Photo by Bruce Hamous

Photo by Bruce Hamous

LEED helped the Franciscan Sisters gain recognition for what they were already doing. LEED aligned so well with the beliefs of the Sister's testament, but also opened their eyes to new practices. LEED helped educate the Sister's, which in turn helps them educate visitors to Prairiewoods - a goal that they had longed for. Achieving LEED Gold Certification was a long process, but they have not stopped to catch their breath and have begun to recertify in April of 2013.

 

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Project details
Size
9,046 sf
Use
Religious Worship
Setting
Rural
Certified
9 Nov 2012