Kroon Hall, home of Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, is a 56,467-square-foot facility that is LEED Platinum certified from the USGBC and was honored this year by the American Institute of Architects and its Committee on the Environment as one of the 2010 COTE Top Ten Green Projects.

The hall features two outdoor courtyards, office space, three classrooms, a 175-seat auditorium, learning center, environmental center, and library. Green attributes include a geothermal energy system, solar hot water heaters, a heat recovery ventilation system, natural light and ventilation, sustainably harvested wood, low-impact paint, and low-E glass. The south side of Kroon Hall’s rooftop supports a 100-kilowatt array of photovoltaic panels that provides about 25 percent of the building’s electricity. Inside, natural light will be augmented with artificial light to maintain a constant lighting level; the latter is also controlled by sensors that shut off automatically if no one is present.

A rainwater harvesting system and cleansing pond collects runoff from the building’s roof and from portions of the grounds. Once collected, the water is held in a settling tank that allows the majority of the sediment to settle out. From there, the water is moved to a storage tank, combined with any excess water from the geothermal wells, and slowly recirculated through the surface treatment pond. The pond employs aquatic plants to further cleanse the water, while also providing an enjoyable and relaxing area for the whole community. Finally, after the water is filtered and disinfected, it can be used for toilet flushing in the building, and for landscape irrigation.

Hopkins Architects served as the project’s design architect, and Centerbrook Architects and Planners as executive architect. Beacon Sales and Bradco Supply Co. served as project distributors; Turner Construction Co. as construction manager; and Ernest Peterson Roofing as installer.