An initial failure of water quality tests was traced back to the tank, which hadn't been properly cleaned before filling. The water now consistently passes tests.
The biggest challenge, and the one that nearly defeated the team, however, was achieving net zero energy for the period of a year.
The Living Learning Center's main source of energy are photovoltaic panels mounted on the roof. Because Missouri has hot summers and cold winters, Tyson has a net metering agreement with the local utility company, Ameren UE, which allows it to pull energy from the grid when needed and pay back this debt with surplus energy at other times of the day and year.
For a variety of reasons a value engineering review that cut solar panel acreage, a failure to model efficiency in sufficient detail and brutal weather the electrical production lagged behind consumption during the winter of 2009.
To remedy the problem, insulation was added, the heating system was adjusted to be more efficient, additional solar panels were added to the roof and two visually captivating solar arrays that track the sun both vertically and horizontally were added to the front of the building.
Because of this lapse, however, the team felt that they would probably receive only partial certification. In his first communication after they received full certification, Smith said that "the International Living Building Institute was particularly impressed with how clear our dedication was to the spirit of the Living Building Challenge and that this is a major reason why we were given full certification."
"I think the fact that we attempted no shortcuts and were so quick to respond to performance issues played a big role in our successful certification bid," Smith said. "Washington University's support at all levels is what made this possible."
|Contact: Diana Lutz|
Washington University in St. Louis