Renewable Energy Education Center for Exelon
Industrial office space transformed into an LEED® Silver-rated renewable energy education center in just 5 months
Midwest Studios, Adler Display, Wick Fisher White, Paul Restall Company
Fairless Hills, Pa.
Architectural, Site/Civil, Structural, Sustainable Design, Audiovisual, Public Outreach
Size: 11,630 square feet
Construction Cost: $1.6 million
Duration: 5 months
Exelon’s Renewable Energy Education Center is a 3,950-square-foot facility for educating students about renewable energy – specifically solar, wind, landfill gas, and hydro-electric power – energy and resource conservation, recycling, and environmental awareness. Located along the Delaware River in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, the center is attached to an operating renewable energy, 110,000-square-foot electric power generating station with a total capacity of up to 60 megawatts (MW), fueled by landfill gas from two nearby landfills.
A key challenge was the need to retrofit an underutilized 7,680-square-foot warehouse area of the plant to accommodate personnel who were displaced from the industrial office area that was renovated for the new Education Center. In addition, various other program elements and spaces from elsewhere in the plant were relocated to this space, which was challenging in both its limited area of square feet, as well as its head height and structure clearances.
The Education Center fulfills the vision of Exelon senior management to engage and educate community members, specifically children, about renewable energy, conservation, and sustainable practices, and inspire them to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reinvent our energy infrastructure.
What We Did
Gannett Fleming was the prime consultant selected by Exelon Generation Company, LLC, to design its new Renewable Energy Education Center and other renovations to the Fairless Hills Power Generating Station. We were responsible for site, architectural, interior, and structural design; audiovisual design and installation; design and installation of interactive displays and videos; an outreach program; and LEED design and documentation.
Completed within an aggressive, five-month timeline, the project team fast-tracked this project, which was completed on time and under budget. Renovations were made in a fully functioning, 24/7 power plant with no power disruption. The center is a demonstration of sustainability, with the sustainable building features used in the renovation displayed in a wall graphic educationally directed to visiting school groups.
- New air-lock vestibule, reception office, lobby display area with kitchenette, interactive display area, computer lab, experimentation lab, and dividable classroom in the Education Center.
- Use of low-emitting materials and recycled materials to meet sustainable goals and reduce maintenance in both the Education Center and plant.
- Corridor upgrades in the plant.
- Turbine Hall was refinished with low- and no-VOC paints.
- Adaptive reuse of a portion of warehouse area.
- New bus lane, drop-off sidewalk with bollards, appropriately wide entrance walk, and bicycle rack.
- Visually and thermally improved façade.
- Reflective roof materials.
Sustainability Features & Outcomes
- Obtains 100 percent renewable energy for the Education Center from the attached Fairless Hills Generating Station.
- Daylight modeling and a complex lighting system controlled by a pre-settable dimming control system with motion sensors.
- Low-flow plumbing fixtures reduce water requirements by 20 percent.
- New HVAC system uses renewable electricity from the plant and plant-generated steam.
- Interior designed with 70 percent recycled ceiling tile and 76 percent recycled carpet tile; suite furniture includes recycled content.
- Sustainable construction waste management practices reduced demolition refuse.
- Exelon’s staff participates in an enhanced recycling program, and the company participates in a “green” cleaning program.
Awards & Recognition
- Silver LEED rating for Commercial Interiors from the U.S. Green Building Council.
- Honor Award, 2010, American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania, Engineering Excellence Awards.
- National Finalists Award, 2010, American Council of Engineering Companies, Engineering Excellence Awards.
More Project Details
LEED Silver Certified.
Powered by 100 percent renewable energy.
Center educates visitors on renewable energy, conservation, and sustainability.