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NOLS facility earns LEED Platinum certification; first in Lander to achieve status

Dec 12, 2013 - From staff reports

The project used sustainable strategies, such as recycled materials and radiant heating and cooling.

The Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus, owned by the National Outdoor Leadership School, has achieved LEED Platinum certification under the U.S. Green Building Council's New Construction and Major Renovation 2009 rating system.

The building is the first in Lander to achieve LEED Platinum certification. Only five LEED projects exist in Wyoming.

Located 12 miles southeast of Lander, the one-story, 11,000-square-foot educational facility was designed in 2011 by High Plains Architects of Billings, Mont. MBA Construction, along with numerous local consultants and subcontractors, played an integral role in the project, completing construction in late 2012.

The campus, home to NOLS' growing Wilderness Medicine Institute's programming, includes classrooms, meeting spaces, offices, a student commons, and kitchen and dining facilities. Additionally, there is 4,500 square feet of housing for 32 students and four staff.

The design supports a curriculum built around scenarios, practical experience, and learning in the natural context while complementing the surrounding landscape attributes.

"We are pleased and excited about this newest NOLS facility," said NOLS executive director John Gans. "Dedicated to and optimized for wilderness medicine instruction, the building features expansive classroom space, daylighting and easy access to the outdoors where WMI's scenario-based instruction happens."

Consistent with NOLS' environmental sustainability goals, the project is designed for durability and water and resource conservation.

Through an integrated design process, the project used many sustainable design strategies: using salvaged, recycled and healthy materials, natural daylighting and ventilation, passive solar design, a superinsulated envelope, a ground-source heat pump, radiant floor heating/cooling, composting toilets, an 18.8 kW solar array, and a 55,000 gallon rainwater collection system for the campus' native landscape irrigation.

The building uses 54 percent less energy from utilities and 62 percent less water for interior fixtures than the building code-compliant reference case.

Education about many of the campus' features is included in a building orientation program for students. With LEED Platinum certification, the educational facility has extended NOLS' educational offerings and demonstrates a minimum impact ethic.

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