2400 Compass Road, Glenview Map
Glenview Park District
Wight & Company
The Evelyn Pease Tyner Interpretive Center is the public gateway to the 32-acre Air Station Prairie in Glenview. The 3000 square-foot Tyner Center educates visitors about the history and ecology of the local Illinois prairie ecosystem, while also serving as a showcase for the cutting edge of green building technology and techniques. The building was designed by Wight & Company and built by Pepper Construction. Lois Vitt Sale was the architect in charge of LEED issues and sustainable design. In May 2007, it became the first new building in the Chicago area to achieve LEED Platinum certification.
The first thing you may notice about the center as you walk up the front stairs is that many of the exhibits are on the outside of the building. This not only showcases the surrounding prairie, but also provides a smaller interior footprint to heat and cool. What you may not notice right away is the reason for the front stairs: the building is perched atop a set of stilts. This allows rainwater to flow beneath the building, which helps maintain the natural drainage patterns of the area.
But perhaps the most noticeable feature of the Tyner Center is what you might call the "ultimate" green roof. The natural prairie grasses that surround the building cover two-thirds of its roof as well. (If you looked down at the building from above, you just might miss it altogether.) This intensive green roof and the over six inches of soil below it soak up rainwater and insulate the building's interior from the elements. On many hot summer days, the only cooling system needed is a few open windows. When additional heating and cooling are necessary, the Tyner Center utilizes a geothermal system that circulates water through 200 feet of pipes underground, where the temperature stays a constant 50 degrees year-round.
The other third of the roof contains 490 Solarsave® photovoltaic tiles from Open Energy Corporation, which provide the building with up to 1800 kilowatt-hours of electricity every month. Taking into account the sensor-controlled high-efficiency lighting system, natural light from the large windows, and the geothermal temperature system, that's often more power than the building consumes. In fact, Wight has estimated that the Tyner Center could end up selling electricity back to the grid rather than buying it from the electric utility. Imagine getting a check every month instead of an electric bill!
Other team members for the Tyner Center and Air Station Prairie project include: HJ Kessler Associates for commissioning, General Energy Corporation for MEP, Conservation Design Forum for landscape architecture, planning, and restoration, and Bluestone + Associates for exhibit planning and design.
Photo courtesy of Schlismann Photography/Wight & Company