LEED Gold for Net Zero Illinois Municipal Building

By CN Staff

COUNTRYSIDE, Ill.—City officials recently celebrated the opening of the Countryside Municipal Complex in Illinois, the state’s first Net Zero government building. The 34,500-square-foot, three-story building—designed to produce as much energy annually as it uses—replaces a 1960s-era city hall and police department. It recently received LEED Gold.

Designed by Dewberry, the building features a broad array of sustainable technologies, as well as a flexible and modern environment for police and civic operations. The firm provided architecture; mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering; structural engineering; geothermal bore field design; energy modeling; technology, audio-visual, and security design; grant proposal assistance; and Net Zero energy educational signage design.

Although not originally intended as a Net Zero building, comprehensive energy modeling combined with design strategies that included a highly efficient continuous air barrier, a carefully tested thermal envelope featuring continuous insulation and glazing with a ceramic frit pattern, and a geothermal mechanical system demonstrated early on that a Net Zero performance was attainable.

“What is significant about this project is that we achieved Net Zero performance within the framework of a traditional architectural style,” said Dewberry Associate and Project Manager Jonathan Tallman in a statement.

“The city’s focus on prairie-style architecture and creating a highly functional and appealing workplace for city staff and the police department was equally important. We were able to achieve all of these objectives.”

Key sustainable features of this $21.8 million project include:

  • 638 solar panels with an estimated annual output of 275.2 MWh, enough to produce 100% of the building’s electricity
  • High-performance thermal envelope
  • Energy-efficient mechanical systems incorporating geothermal heating and cooling technology
  • Water-efficient plumbing fixtures
  • LED lighting
  • Insulated, low-emissivity glass
  • A green roof with native plants that reduces stormwater run-off
  • A 198-foot monopole tower that will generate revenue for the city by serving as a Verizon cell tower
  • Interpretive signage and displays that describe sustainable features

Dewberry worked closely with representatives from the city and the police department to program interior spaces. Spaces for training were a priority for the police department, as well as several technological upgrades over the department’s previous facility. The new building was designed to reflect best practices in security, evidence processing and storage, detention, and day-to-day operations.

The new L-shaped building is divided into police department functions on the northern and city hall functions on the south, with a shared amenities core. A centrally located two-story lobby welcomes the public and serves as an access point for both the police and city hall functions.

Frederick Quinn Corporation was the contractor on this project. Other companies involved included Hitchcock Design Group for landscape architecture; Eriksson Engineering Associates, Ltd., for civil engineering; and Cardosi Kiper Design Group, Inc., for LEED® and Net Zero energy educational signage; Smith Seckman Reid, Inc. for commissioning; ARC Perspectives, Inc. for grant research, and Sabre Industries, Inc. for monopole design.