The Kresge Foundation has endowed non-profit organisations with capital grants and programme support for more than 80 years. In 2003, the environmentally-conscious foundation inaugurated a programme to encourage sustainable building by non-profits and embarked on a sustainable renovation and expansion of its headquarters.
The foundation renovated its existing buildings and built a new, highly efficient, low-energy building to house its expanding operations. Employing both low and high-tech methods, the new building uses considerably less energy than a standard building of similar size.
The new building is oriented with its longer sides facing north and south, providing maximum natural light. Strategic sun shading helps to regulate interior temperature all the year round. Taking advantage of the Earth’s built-in insulation properties, a large proportion of the new building is embedded in the ground.
The facility employs a geothermal system for heating and cooling. Water circulates through a system of wells sunk to a depth of 400ft, where the earth remains at a constant 55 degrees Fahrenheit. From this constant temperature, water can be more efficiently heated or cooled according to the season.
Additional sustainable strategies include a series of green roofs, landscaping with drought-resistant native plants, stormwater runoff management and interior water conservation and reuse systems.