Connecting Communities and Nature Through Sustainable Design
Willowbrook Wildlife Center Phase II Master Planning Project
Sep 30, 2022
At Wight & Company, we honor the environment through industry-leading sustainability practices and are at-the-ready to help clients achieve their own sustainability goals.
A passion for preserving the environment is a value we share with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. The District’s commitment to the responsible and sustainable preservation of the land, plants, and animals under its protection is one of the guiding principles behind its overall mission to preserve, protect, and restore natural resources in DuPage County.1 Throughout our long partnership, we have worked together in various ways to ensure projects were equally functional and sustainable.
Our current project, the new Willowbrook Wildlife Center, takes this shared passion to the next level. As both designer and builder, Wight was able to design to the highest sustainability standards while simultaneously estimating construction costs to ensure feasibility. When completed and certified, the new Willowbrook Wildlife Rehabilitation clinic and visitor center will be one of the very few net-zero buildings in DuPage County.
Net-zero buildings, or buildings that produce as much energy as they consume on an annual basis, have two significant benefits:
They use best practices in design to minimize energy requirements
They incorporate renewable energy systems to meet the remaining power needs of the project
To maximize energy efficiency and incorporate sustainable elements, the Willowbrook design includes:
Low impact site development to minimize ongoing environmental impacts
Building materials that have been carefully selected to have low embodied carbon
Optimized mechanical systems, including the District's first ground-sourced heating and cooling system. This system uses the soil’s natural moderate temperatures to provide more efficient heating and cooling
At approximately 550 kw…. this project will have the largest constructed solar array at any forest preserve District facility or site
As a public destination, this project will help advance the idea of sustainable building as the standard for our communities. In addition to being a wildlife education center, visitors will also experience firsthand how the built environment can be as sustainable as it is beautiful.