Commissioned by the City of Columbus, Wyandot Lodge presented an opportunity to design an environmental education center that would enrich lives through innovative design while also enlightening future generations. The new lodge and educational center, located along the West riverbank of the Scioto River, features a science room, activity room, offices, kitchen, quiet room and restrooms and is used for camps as well as rented for events.
With a goal of net zero energy, Wyandot Lodge demonstrates that building systems, design, and energy performance work interdependently. The facility relies on its surroundings for energy—sun and geo-thermal—while offering opportunities to teach through practical application. The conservation of water is explored through a rain chain and bioswale on the perimeter of the building, creating a visual representation of the art of water preservation and the natural filtration process, optimizing spatial learning in a setting that compliments the lessons learned within the spaces. The building provides tactile opportunities for hands-on learning to further cultivate a deeper understanding of sustainable design practices.
The lodge reduces overall energy needs through building orientation, building envelope optimization, and climate-appropriate building materials. Passive heating and cooling strategies, natural ventilation, and high-efficiency HVAC systems partnered with “smart” controls further reduce the energy demand.
Design included limiting the electric needed to run the facility. Occupant behaviors as well as various heating/cooling options were thoroughly investigated before selecting the systems that would work the best for this location and occupants.
The building and hardscape areas were located to avoid harming habitat and the adjacent Scioto River, and to maximize open space, encouraging visitors’ interaction with the natural environment. Low-impact development methods reduced construction pollution, heat-island effects and light pollution, and mimicked natural water flow patterns to manage rainwater runoff.
The indoor environment has been enhanced through low-emitting materials and finishes and has maximized occupant comfort through daylighting and lighting quality, thermal comfort design and feedback and access to exterior views and activities.
Wyandot Lodge won a Sustainability & Energy Smart (SES) Award from USGBC Ohio in 2020 for Sustainability & Energy Project – New Construction. The project also was awarded First Place in the category of “Capital Improvement Projects – $2.5 Million and Up” in 2017 by the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA).