In 2011, the Department of Energy created The Energy Efficient Buildings Hub, now known as The Consortium for Building Energy Innovation (CBEI), with the goal of developing the means to reduce the energy usage of existing buildings 50 percent by 2030. CBEI comprises of 14 member organizations, led by Penn State University, who are working toward whole building-system solutions. CBEI is intended to establish The Navy Yard, Philadelphia, and the region as the national center for energy efficient research, education, policy and commercialization. Key personnel will be headquartered at The Navy Yard in a retrofitted recreation center building and a proposed building designed by Kieran Timberlake that will become a living laboratory for energy efficient building design.

The design of the landscape includes an integrated storm water feature and cistern used for irrigation needs. Native plant choices dominant the planting palette. A crushed oyster shell terrace with custom designed wood benches abuts the storm water feature and provides a backdrop for social gatherings and outdoor teaching opportunities. Located beneath the lawn and native planting areas is a geothermal well field that helps provide heat to the buildings. A rooftop with native plantings and a photovoltaic array helps insulate the building and provides energy for classroom lighting.

The innovative process used to design and deliver the building and landscape serves as a replicable new paradigm for the design and construction industry. Rather than segregating architects and engineers from builders, as is typical, collaborative teams of stakeholders were formed to work together throughout the process to make better informed design decisions. Pre-determined project values served as touchstones, and iterative cost modeling was used to support decisions.

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Architecture:  Kieran Timberlake