Planned net-zero facility preps Heartland Community College for the future of high-tech agriculture
The Heartland Community College Agricultural Complex’s greenhouses and labs, designed for agricultural science education, support flexibility, and collaboration. Social spaces throughout the facility allow for incidental interactions and mentorship. The 29,500-square-foot building integrates technology throughout, from the rooftop photovoltaic (solar) array to the accommodations for precision agriculture — helping educators prepare students for the high-tech agricultural jobs of tomorrow.
Within the facility’s labs, students will work on everything from drone repair and computer-controlled farming equipment to the study of soil samples. The complex also offers adjacent farming plots and teaching greenhouses.
The building, on track to achieve net-zero energy certification, reflects the college’s focus on regenerative agriculture. The building design stems from intensive energy modeling, passive solar principles, and solar compartmentalization, while the site design highlights stormwater management and flexibility of outdoor education. Legat helped the college apply for and secure a $2 million energy grant.
Through a detailed investigation of 16 different options of building form and orientation, the design team worked with the project stakeholders to arrive at a design solution that consumes as little energy as possible while encouraging cross-disciplinary collaboration, community education, and hands-on experience. Sustainable features include a super-insulated building envelope, energy-efficient mechanical systems, a geothermal system, radiant heating and cooling floors, and rooftop photovoltaics.