Cope Environmental Center

Project Overview

HEAPY provided Mechanical-Electrical Design and Commissioning services for the new, 7,000 SF Cope Environmental Center that expands the center’s capacity for environmental programs, serve as a community gathering space, and act as a powerful teaching tool for sustainable living in East-Central Indiana.

It’s low profile appeal helps keep the focus on the land, not the structure. PV panels and other alternative energy systems assisted the CEC to meet the demands of the Living Building Challenge to be “net zero” in energy usage.

The newly completed facility has a dedicated classroom that houses the technical components necessary for long-distance learning, water/soil testing and hands-on learning. Each piece of the building is a teaching tool including the water reclamation system, passive solar design and ultra-high efficiency building materials. A large multipurpose room serves several functions including a host site for summits, community functions and educational space for visitors. The educational space can be sub-divided into three separate areas holding 50 people each.

Designing to the Living Building Challenge, which limits the use of VOC’s, PVC and other compounds unfriendly with our environment, required finding acceptable substitutes for common building materials and construction oversight to ensure installed materials complied.

The ground source heat pumps are coupled to nine (9) 300-foot deep closed-circuit wells. The three (3) heat pumps are utilized to provide heating and cooling to the occupied spaces, supplemented by radiant heating and cooling. Outdoor air is pre-conditioned by energy recovery ventilators to minimize the load on the mechanical systems. However, operable windows can be used instead of the main systems when the weather permits, providing the occupants with the benefits of natural ventilation.

By calculation estimates, the CEC needed slightly over 30 Kw of PV to operate as Net Zero. The CEC elected to go with 20 Kw for the first season to see how close they could get. The building did get to a very low measured and verified EUI of 3.69 for 2018, not quite 0, so another 12 Kw of PV has been installed to get them past the finish line, achieving                    Net Positive!


Achieved Net Positive
31 kBtu/SF-Year EUI as Modeled
3 kBtu/SF-YR EUI actual without PV
-1.82kBtu/SF-Yr with PV
Energy Reduction Features

HP Building Envelope
LED Lighting Systems
Closed Loop Geothermal HP
Radiant Slab
Low Flow Fixtures
Water Well & Septic Leach Waste Water


Thought Content

Seasonal Maintenance Increases Efficiency and Improves Indoor Air Quality

By: Ryan Hoffman

Read More