Introba provided design analytics and sustainability consulting for the Westwood Hills Nature Center in St. Louis Park, MN, United States.
Working closely with Westwood Hills Nature Center and HGA Architects, Introba (formerly Integral Group) was responsible for leading the strategy to achieve the client’s net-zero energy, carbon, and water resiliency objectives. As part of our analysis, we evaluated efficiency strategies, including an improved envelope, a highly efficient HVAC system, an advanced lighting system, and low-flow water-use fixtures to help the project meet its performance targets. As the first Net Zero Energy building in St. Louis Park, the nature center serves as a model for zero-energy building construction. It proves that net-zero energy design is possible even in cold Minnesota winters.
Designed as a teaching tool that connects visitors with nature, the facility includes numerous high-performance and sustainability features, with a focus on the passive elements, including a high-performance envelope, building orientation optimized to suit site-specific solar and wind profiles, and natural ventilation strategies for space conditioning when the exterior conditions favor.
The Westwood Hills Nature Center is a 160-acre natural area featuring marsh, woods, and restored prairie. The preserve remains beautiful throughout the changing seasons and provides a home for many animals, including deer, fox, mink, and owls. The new environmental learning center replaces a smaller, nondescript building that has served area hikers, birders, and schoolchildren since 1981.
Net Zero Energy (ILFI) Certified
Net Zero Carbon Target
First Net Zero Energy building in St. Louis Park; serves as a model for zero-energy building construction in wintery climates
Provided strategy to achieve net-zero energy, carbon, and water resiliency objectives
Evaluated efficiency strategies, including improved envelope, highly efficient HVAC system, advanced lighting system, and low-flow water-use fixtures to meet performance targets
Includes high-performance features focused on passive elements, including optimized building envelope and orientation, and natural ventilation
Photo Credit: 2021 © Corey Gaffer