Allegheny College: Richard J. Cook Center for Environmental Science


The Richard J. Cook Center for Environmental Science has created the first dedicated home for Allegheny College’s well-respected and long-standing Environmental Science & Studies department through a renovation within Carr Hall. Named in honor of Allegheny’s previous president, the renovation recognizes Richard Cook as a campus sustainability champion and the signatory of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, which has led to an institutional goal of climate neutrality by 2020.


Built in 1964, Carr Hall is an undergraduate academic building which also housed the Physics department and introductory chemistry labs. The 21,000 square foot renovation within the 47,500 total square foot Carr Hall transformed what was the mathematics department in the Richard J. Cook Center for Environmental Science, complete with added science labs, a GIS lab, a production aquaponics lab, a dynamic new lobby space, and additional classroom and studio spaces.

The renovation was the third LEED® certified building on campus and is powered by 100% wind generated electricity through the purchase of RECs for all campus consumption.



A committee of administrators, faculty and students worked with architects and the contractor to design the renovations to Carr Hall—a multi-use space—to achieve not only increased energy efficiency, but also to transform the space for its new occupants’ needs, including the incorporation of sustainability features that can be used as teaching tools into the design, and the addition of cutting edge laboratories for aquaponics, GIS and more.


The project also included faculty offices, seminar spaces, a teaching kitchen, a student lounge, and an innovative lobby space. To create additional teaching space, the project demolished the existing auditorium and re-defined the space as two floors of classrooms.

The renovation features efficiency measures such as:

  • Lighting retrofits and sensors are 55% more efficient than the baseline lighting system (savings of $9,700 per year): LED 2x2 and 28w T5 fixtures, occupancy sensors in all renovated areas, daylight sensors in areas with solar tubes, dimmable controls
  • Envelope improvements and exhaust heat recovery reduce natural gas heating needs by 9% (savings of $1,000 per year)
  • CO2 monitoring moderates interior ventilation to be 45% more efficient than the baseline system (savings of $2,600 per year)

In addition, this project includes alternative materials such as sorghum board, compressed paper counter tops, recycled carpet and rubber/cork flooring, bamboo benches and FSC certified wood; and educational highlights such as solar panels, rainwater catchment, a living wall, aquaponics, and indoor/outdoor gardens.

Click below to view a video on Allegheny College: Deep Infrastructure Sustainability



The renovation attained LEED Gold Commercial Interiors. The renovation of Carr Hall is just one component of Allegheny College’s greater efforts to pursue building efficiency and institutional sustainability across campus. Future efforts, including building envelope improvements, lighting and boiler retrofits, will be funded through a commitment of $500,000 each year from now until 2020 for energy efficiency projects.


Annual Energy Use

(Source EUI)
Baseline (2010)
190 kBtu/sq. ft.
Actual (2017)
160 kBtu/sq. ft.

Energy Savings:


Annual Energy Cost

Baseline (2009-10)
Expected (2012-13)
Coming soon

Cost Savings:


Sector Type



Meadville, Pennsylvania

Project Size

21,000 Square Feet

Carr Hall facade improvements
Carr Hall facade improvements

Lobby incorporating sustainability features
Lobby incorporating sustainability features