We're excited to share that the Adlai E. Stevenson High School East Building Addition achieved Zero Energy certification from the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). The school is also the first verified Net Zero Energy building in Illinois as acknowledged by the New Buildings Institute (NBI), LEED Schools Platinum, and the first Living Architecture Performance Tool (LAPT) Platinum certified project in the world.

The high performing project incorporates best practices across architecture and engineering including a large photovoltaic array that generates 545 MWh-year, resulting in a project that produces more energy than it consumes (-3.75 kBTU/sqft-y). The base building, without photovoltaics, has an efficiency of 32 kBTU/sqft-yr.

A large active green wall system, rooftop greenhouse and exterior gardens support innovative instruction in biology and botany, with students producing food to demonstrate a farm-to-fork approach.

"The Adlai E. Stevenson High School East Building Addition has cutting-edge sustainability features not found in any other education facility in the world,” says Lois Vitt Sale, senior vice president and chief sustainability officer at Wight & Company. “Through the incorporation of a real-time energy use tracking system, we’re able to analyze the performance of HVAC, lighting plug loads, elevators, and photovoltaic panels to ensure net zero energy consumption on an annual basis.”

The 50,000-sf addition was designed to provide new learning environments aligned with the school’s educational paradigms. The new facility includes world language classrooms, maker labs, and multi-purpose presentation spaces for conferences and extended learning, as well as five advanced physics and engineering program labs. Unique aspects of the science spaces include reconfigurable labs with multiple teaching surfaces and a two-story atrium for vertical drops and robotics experiments.

“We are grateful to have a longstanding partnership with the team at Wight & Company. Our appreciation of their expertise, including their commitment to sustainability, cannot be overstated. Our school facilities and community are stronger for it,” said Dr. Eric Twadell, superintendent of Stevenson High School.

Wight & Company is recognized as a leader in sustainable buildings, having been the first firm to receive Green Firm Certification from the Sustainable Performance Institute (2011). Wight served as designer for the first Illinois public high school to receive LEED certification (Bolingbrook High School, Valley View Community Unit School District 365U, Bolingbrook, IL; 2004); and the first recreation center in the U.S. to receive Passive House U.S. and Source Zero Certifications from PHIUS (Prairie Athletic Recreation Center, Plainfield, IL, 2020).