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  Page 70 - Environmental Living & Learning Center, Northland CollegeEnvironmental Living & Learning Center, Northland College
LHB Engineers & Architects 
21 West Superior Street, #500, Duluth, MN 55802

Ashland, Wisconsin
Total Square Feet: 39,994
Construction Period: Oct 1997 to Oct 1998

Construction Team
General Contractor: Frank Tomlinson Company, Inc. - 411 11th Ave. West, Ashland, WI 54806
Structural, Electrical & Mechanical Engineer: Hammel Green & Abrahamson - 1201 Harmon Pl., Minneapolis, MN 55403

This new student housing complex is two stories high with a partial basement storage and mechanical space. Three different styles of housing rooms were created: standard double rooms; suites sharing a bathroom between two rooms; and six-person apartments which include full kitchens, living rooms as well as private and double bedrooms. The building includes 114 beds: 24 in apartments, 32 in suites, and 58 in double rooms. Common areas, kitchens, toilet/shower rooms, laundry, recycling rooms, and study/seminar rooms are provided for all students to use. The apartment wing includes a two-story greenhouse for use in growing food year round.

Renewable energy systems were utilized to demonstrate their contribution potential. The building includes supplemental photo voltaic and wind power generation; solar preheated water; a greenhouse; passive solar design in one wing; high efficiency gas boiler heating system with two heat recovery units. Optimum insulation values and wall to window ratios were utilized for the exterior envelope. Windows are high performance units with low-emissivity coated glass (Hp-4 for south facing glass and Hp-5 elsewhere). High efficiency lighting and energy efficient appliances were used throughout. Students have been encouraged to use a meter to measure the energy consumption of various appliances they bring into the building such as a stereo or television.

During the design phase, the architects evaluated all of the major materials, which would be used in the construction, and operation of the building. Questions of embodided energy, harvest practices of timber, recyclability, material life cycles, product durability, maintenance, transportation impacts, reuse/disposal and the overall budget were weighed for hundreds of materials. The decisions made were part of the learning process for all involved, but particularly for the students, who are mostly majoring in environmental studies.

Students encouraged the use of water saving composting toilets in the apartments - 2 such units were provided with design for expansion to 4 units. The rich compost created by these units will be used to fertilize site landscape plantings. Low volume showers, toilets, and sinks were specified to conserve water. 

A variance from the Wisconsin code requirement to have an elevator was sought and received. This was issued primarily on the basis of a duplicate use on each floor. Not having to install an elevator is a significant resource saver for the environment and the college.

The new residence hall meets the needs and interests of students, models the school's environmental mission, and provides a living and learning laboratory for environmental studies. The facility educates its residents on energy costs through unique components of their "home". Since the facility is a teaching tool as well as a residence, students were involved in the design from concept to completion.

Roof - Copper Sales.
Floors - Vinyl: Armstrong.
Interior Walls - Gypsum Board: Louisiana Pacific.

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