When guests enter the Northbrook Park District’s Techny Prairie Activity Center (TPAC), they’ll notice something different than is found in the lobby of most state-of-the-art fitness facilities: real-time data on the building’s energy usage and storage. Before they step foot in the cardio and strength area, drop their kids off for childcare, or head to the basketball courts for an invigorating game of pickleball, community members get to see exactly how much energy the solar panels that line the entire roof are generating.

This atypical experience was exactly what the Park District had in mind when they tapped Wight & Company to design TPAC, the first-ever dedicated indoor recreation facility in Northbrook. This 42,000 SF, highly efficient facility is slated to receive PHIUS+ and Source Zero Certifications, both from the Passive House Institute US. Guests enjoy sweeping views of the surrounding prairie and Anetsberger Golf Course from the fitness floor and walk/run track that loops around the second story. Nearly every space in the facility receives natural light, with a color palette inspired by nature.

Techny Prairie Activity Center fitness floor
TPAC Exterior 1

Significantly, Wight helped the Park District secure $2M for TPAC through the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation grant - a program that has been providing financial support for clean energy projects in Illinois for over 20 years. These funds helped ensure that project leaders were able to meet, and exceed, their energy efficiency goals in alignment with Northbrook Park District’s mission to enhance their community by providing outstanding services, parks and facilities through environmental, social, and financial stewardship.

TPAC is just one of many projects that Wight’s Parks & Recreation team has partnered on to help districts achieve their health and wellness facility goals through cutting-edge sustainability practices. In 2019, the Prairie Activity & Recreation Center (PARC) was awarded Best Commercial Project at the PHIUS Passive House Projects Design Competition. As the First recreational facility in Illinois designed for Net-Zero, PARC is powered by a 213 kW photovoltaic array and features limited windows, superior insulation, LED lighting and sensors, and an efficient ventilator to improve energy efficiency.

PARC Exterior 1
PARC interior 1

The facility is also the first recreation center in the US to receive both PHIUS+2015 certification and PHIUS+ Source Zero certification. As with TPAC, the team at Wight helped the Park District secure a significant grant from the Foundation in support of forward-thinking sustainability features. Our Parks & Recreation team is proud to partner with Northbrook and Plainfield Park Districts and others as they pursue innovation and sustainable new ways to play, learn, compete and connect.