Center for Sustainability and Innovation
In the shadows of the four wind turbines lies the Center for Sustainability and Innovation (CSI), the first Platinum LEED certified building in Macon County and at a community college in Illinois. Constructed in 2009, the building achieved a U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy & Environment Design (LEED) platinum designation. The Center fully demonstrates sustainable building technologies and methodologies, and assists in the reduction of Richland’s carbon footprint.
Reflecting the unique relationship between the Applied Agribusiness Technology Park (AATP) and Richland Community College, the Center for Sustainability and Innovation is a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum Level certified building, the first such certified building on any State of Illinois community college campus and the first “green” building in Macon County. In addition, the 100KW wind turbine attached to the Center for Sustainability and Innovation was the first on any State of Illinois community college campus.
The 15,125-square-foot, two-story facility was designed and constructed in accordance with the requirements to achieve a U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design “Platinum” designation.
Most of the Center’s components are made from recycled materials. The concrete is made from coal ash and the carpet from recycled plastic bottles. Wood used in the Center comes from sustainable forests. Geothermal power heats and cools the building, and windows and skylights provide natural light. The wind turbine generates approximately 200,000 kwh per year, more than enough to power the Center.
The building’s Innovation Lab, supported financially by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Local 146, features flexible space and the latest classroom technology.
The University of Illinois Extension office occupies the ground floor of the Center and cooperates with Richland’s Agribusiness and Horticulture programs. Additional cooperative programs are being developed with the University of Illinois and Millikin University.
The Center for Sustainability and Innovation is located on Richland’s campus at the corner of One College Park and President Howard Brown Boulevard.
National Sequestration Education Center
In 2012, the doors were opened in the National Sequestration Education Center (NSEC), a state-of-the-art facility for educational, training and outreach activities. The NSEC has many sustainability features integrated into its design and construction through a green globes certification. There are 42 geothermal wells for heating and cooling of the building using a dual piping design. The windows help provide natural lighting and open spaces views. The renewable energy laboratory, adjacent to NSEC, includes a biomass space and water heating system, a biomass grain hopper, a biodiesel production center, and a biodiesel engine trainer.
As part of the Illinois Carbon Capture & Sequestration Project, this “smart” educational facility will provide an innovative and experiential learning and knowledge transfer environment. The interconnected classroom and laboratory spaces will provide a state-of-the-art learning environment by making available “real-time” sequestration data, as well as the monitoring and analysis of the sequestration project. The NSEC will also provide unique learning experiences to researchers and visitors from around the world by experiencing the technologies connected to this project on Richland’s campus and in surrounding Midwest communities.
The NSEC will be the local, regional, national, and international focal point for carbon sequestration outreach and academic programming. Richland plans to offer the nation's first Associate of Applied Science degree in carbon sequestration technology, along with certificates and high school dual-credit curriculum. In addition, students will be trained for careers in the carbon dioxide capture, sequestration and storage recovery industries.
The National Sequestration Education Center is a component of Richland’s partnership in the U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory project “CO2 Capture from Biofuels Production and Sequestration in the Mt. Simon Sandstone.” The partners in this project include Archer Daniels Midland Company, Schlumberger Carbon Services, and Illinois State Geological Survey (University of Illinois).
While the National Sequestration Education Center site is designed to facilitate educational and technology development opportunities with its classrooms, laboratories, and conference hall, it is also designed to be a “visitor center.” Inside are the carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) informational artifacts and the STELA (Sequestration Technology Educational Learning Array) system.
The STELA is a cooperative game-based learning system designed to provide an exciting, one-of-a-kind experience for K-12, community, and professional audiences. Outside is the Sustainability Nature Walk, which weaves through a presentation of energy grasses, prairie plants, four wind turbines, three solar arrays, fossil fuel, and the Richland Renewable Energy Laboratory. This provides an exciting and innovative educational platform for fossil, renewable, and alternative energies for learners of all ages.