Trails and Trees Environmental Center
Crabtree Rohrbaugh & Associates worked with the Mechanicsburg Wildcat Foundation and Mechanicsburg Area School District on the design of the Trails and Trees Environmental Center Phase II.
Envisioned as a building that teaches students about sustainable design practices, the design includes recreation offices for the school district and two enclosed multi-purpose science classrooms.
Oriented on the site to compliment the existing teaching pavilion, the building takes advantage of natural daylighting and views to reduce the energy consumption for lighting. This building’s roof form maximizes daylighting along the north and south facades, but at the same time allows rainwater runoff from the roof to be captured in cisterns for reuse as “grey” water in the building to reduce water consumption.
The south façade of the building incorporates roll up glass garage doors for daylighting that can be opened to allow students to work more directly with the nature center. These doors along with operable clerestory windows allow for natural ventilation within the building. The south façade incorporates a porch and sunshading to control glare from daylight within the building.
Materials selection for the interior and exterior was based upon life cycle cost, recycled content, durability, maintenance, low V.O.C. content and local production to reduce transportation costs and environmental impact.
A ground source heat pump was utilized as the heating and air conditioning system along with solar power. These systems in concert with increased thermal insulation and high efficiency windows reduce the overall energy consumption of the building.