As part of the transformational expansion of the ESF campus, the new Gateway Center offers a new hub for the campus while giving visitors a snapshot of what ESF represents.
The design of this high-performance building will provide a centerpiece for campus actities, explore financially feasible and technologically sound strategies to operate using renewable energy, produce its own power, create a carbon-neutral facility, and conserve resources in innovative ways. The building is being designed to achieve LEED Platinum Certification.
The building will provide new space for students to gather and socialize, including the Trailhead Café and a green roof with seating areas. It will feature a bookstore, exhibition space for specimens from the College's Roosevelt Wildlife Collection, and spacious areas for conferences, academic gatherings and public events.
One of the hallmarks of the building, which is designed to achieve a U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification, is a novel combined heat-and-power (CHP) system.
The CHP system is made up of two complementary components. The first is a biomass-fueled system that will produce high-pressure steam that will be used to generate electricity by driving a steam turbine before it is used to heat campus buildings. Complementing the biomass system are three natural gas-fired microturbines that will provide a balance of electricity and steam for heating.
The CHP system will provide the Gateway Center and four other buildings on campus with both thermal and electrical energy. Combined heat-and-power systems produce electrical and thermal energy simultaneously, improving overall system efficiency and reducing the College's carbon footprint.
This system will provide approximately 65 percent of campus heating needs and 20 percent of campus electrical needs while reducing the campuswide carbon footprint by 22 percent. It is a major component of ESF's Climate Action Plan.
The Gateway Center will also feature a green roof using native plant species from eastern Lake Ontario dunes and alvar pavement barrens at the northeastern end of Lake Ontario. The Gateway Center garden roof will use planting media depths of 6 to 18 inches which will support larger plants, even woody plants, and provide extra insulation for the building. The green roof will serve as both a research and demonstration project, providing designers and ecologists with a knowledge about how well these native species from marginal but natural plant communities can serve as alternatives to sedums for green roof installations. The green roof will be highly visible and demonstrate to visitors the unique qualities of the institution. It will be a distinctive landscape and serve as a symbol that ESF implements what it teaches into its programs.