Everything we interact with – from chairs and clothing to trees and other people – contain embodied energy.  The AJLC aims to minimize the embodied energy in all materials used in its construction. 

Materials for the AJLC were selected to enhance its sustainability and were evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Recycled or reused
  • Low energy to produce, use, and maintain
  • Locally harvested, produced and/or distributed
  • Supportive of creative approaches to environmental problem solving
  • Products of service (materials leased from a company rather than bought outright -- when worn out, the product is returned for recycling and replaced)

Examples of products utilized in the center that best meet these criteria include:

  • Regional sustainably harvested wood from northern Pennsylvania
  • Interface carpet panels
  • Recycled steel I-beams
  • Energy efficient lighting fixtures
  • Acoustic panels constructed of agricultural straw wastes

Finding products to fulfill these criteria still present a variety of challenges, such as:

  • Lack of markets for local recycled or reused materials
  • Difficulty finding "green" products, local or otherwise
  • Incorporating products of service into contracts -- for example, we attempted to negotiate for solar cells as products of service, but finding a producer that would enter into such an agreement proved impossible.

We hope the information in this section will encourage others to consider similar materials in the design of new and renovated buildings.

Supplier: Pine Collins Co. 

All wood materials are from sustainably managed forests following the rules of the Forest Stewardship Council and certified by Scientific Certification Systems.

  • Glue-laminated beam: Exposed interior roof beams are Douglas Fir harvested from Collins Almanor Forest in the California Sierra Nevadas.
  • Auditorium stage: Structural wood is Hem Fir, also from the Collins Almanor Forest.
  • Auditorium seats, corridor and classroom trim: Maple provided by Kane Hardwood, a division of Collins Pine Co., sourced from FSC forests in the Allegheny Mountains of northern Pennsylvania.

Supplier: Perilstein Distributing Corp. - Now merged to create United Glass Systems.

1/4" Azurlite heat strengthened
1/2" Air space with Argon gas
1/4" Clear Sungate 1000, heat strengthened
1/2" Air space with Argon gas
1/4" Clear Sungate 100, Annealed
1 3/4" Overall Thickness 

Visible light transmittance: 46% 
Solar transmittance: 17%
Solar reflectance out: 8%
U-V light transmittance: 5%
Winter nighttime U-value: .13
Summer daytime U-value: 0.15

Designer: Living Technologies, Inc.
Cost: ~$400,000
Actual amount treated: 200-300 gal/day

(Incomplete) Materials List

Product Group Product Manufacturer Local Product of Service Recycled/​Reused Low energy to produce Low energy to maintain Creative solution
Solar PV panels BP Solar          
Wood Products Roof/ceiling wood Collins Pine Co.      
Laminated beams Timber Systems        
Corridor trim Kane Hardwood (Collins Pine Co.)        
Auditorium stage Collins Pine Co.          
Auditorium seats Kane Hardwood (Collins Pine Co.)        
Resource room table Oberlin College bowling lane    
In the Atrium Triple-paned windows Perlistein Distributing Corp.        
Steel supports Rankin MFG, Inc.        
Aluminum window frames          
Bricks Belden Brick          
Concrete block walls              
Slate tiles            
Sectional furniture Ohio Desk       
Plastic chairs Herman Miller           
Desks Herman Miller           
Carpets Interface      
Raised floors            
Acoustic panels Architectural Forest Enterprises          
Paints and Cleaners Paint Benjamin Moore and Co.          
Paint American Formulating and Manufacturing          
Adhesives Re:Source Americas          
Cleaners Simple Green          
Landscape Topsoil Kurtz Bros, Inc.          
Pond liner Exterior Landscape Contractors          
Water Treatment Living Machine Living Technologies, Inc.          
Restroom stalls Santana Hiny-Hiders        

For each product described in the first three columns, a checkmark symbol in columns 4-9 indicates the product has that attribute. A space or empty cell indicates the product does not possess the attribute.