Located on Swarthmore College’s 399-acre campus, which is designated as an arboretum, the $2.7 million Wister Education Center and Greenhouse provided an excellent opportunity for Swarthmore to showcase its vision for sustainability.
The new 5,200 square foot building contains a classroom for public education, space for horticultural displays, a greenhouse for plant cultivation, and support space for the arboretum’s many volunteers. Design and construction focused on innovative, energy-efficient green building techniques, earning the project LEED Gold certification.
BBA provided MEP engineering for the building. Sustainable design features include MEP systems that reduce energy use 21 percent below minimum code; a water-source heat pump system that uses the campus central chilled water loop and a heat exchange source; low-flow plumbing fixtures; occupancy sensor-controlled lighting and a building-wide timing system, augmented by energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs; large windows and light tubes to facilitate daylighting; and an underground cistern that captures rainwater for irrigation.