Perhaps the greenest undertaking at the Community College of Philadelphia's Northeast Regional Center will be invisible to visitors at today's formal opening.
It's 220 geothermal wells, each 400 feet deep, that will provide heating and cooling for the new facility.
But that's only part of a $31 million green transformation at the center.
A storm water runoff and retention system can capture and filter rainwater that is rerouted to be used for flushing. Two retention basins on the property can hold up to 300,000 gallons of storm runoff from the NERC and neighboring residential properties, lessening the burden on the city stormwater system.
Inside is an advanced air quality system. "Daylight harvesting" sensors note when the light coming in from outside is bright enough to dim the indoor lights.
A green roof, planted with low-growing perennials, will extend the life of the roof, minimize heat and reduce the need for air-conditioning, officials said. It also has low reflectivity, gives off oxygen and aids in storm water management.
"The College is incredibly proud of what it has accomplished by melding the old with the new at the Northeast Regional Center, making the finished project much greater than the sum of its parts," Community College of Philadelphia President Stephen M. Curtis said in a press release about the 120,000-square-foot facility. "The end product is not just bigger, it is better for students, and greener in ways that are better for the environment."
Federal, state and local officials, including Mayor Michael A. Nutter, who has committed to increasing the number of college graduates in the city, as well as making Philadelphia America's "greenest city," will give remarks at the opening of the facility, according to officials.
More from the press release:
Also as part of the celebration, the College will unveil the latest issue of its Pathways magazine, which focuses on green technology and sustainability, and has as its cover story an interview with Peter Longstreth, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, Katherine Gajewski, director of the Mayor's Office of Sustainability, and John Grady, PIDC's executive vice president.
The College has long been committed to energy conservation and the principles of environmental sustainability as part of its overall mission to educate and prepare a Philadelphia workforce that can compete in a global economy. "These buildings serve as living laboratories where students can learn by their surroundings," said President Curtis. "We've created state-of-the-art learning spaces that will help students become global citizens who really understand what sustainability means."
The project was built to comply with the LEED -- for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design -- gold standard set by the U.S. Green Building Council for new construction.
The center is at 12901 Townsend Road in Northeast Philadelphia.