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A rendering of the interior of the  Sharvy Umbeck Science and Mathematics Center.

Revitalize Green Oaks Biological Field Station


Beverly Holmes

Vice President for Advancement

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401- 4999


888-566-9265 (Toll Free)

Fax: 309-341-7770


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A fall sunset from the west side of Ford Center for the Fine Arts

How Green Oaks Will Look

The new Green Oaks has been designed as an integrated complex of three buildings designed to accommodate both day trips and longer stays.

Building One

On the shore of Lake Sharvey, Building One includes a library and classroom lab space, faculty lab space, storage for ongoing research and art projects, and a communal kitchen and dining hall that can accommodate up to 75 guests.

Buildings Two and Three

A short walk from the main area, Building Two and Three will house two residential wings with living space for up to 30 students, with a separate faculty residence, on-site laundry room, and both indoor and outdoor communal areas.

How Green Oaks Will Work

Through our partnership with architect Christner Inc., and in consultation with Hellmuth + Bicknese Architects, we have developed a plan to create a Living Building at Green Oaks-a building that produces more resources than it consumes.

Though the engineering behind a Living Building is complex, the principles that guide its design are simple. As in nature, a Living Building must:

  1. Eliminate Waste. That applies not only to the construction process, but also to ongoing day-to-day operations. For instance, our design will route wastewater and solid waste through gravel and wet- land vegetation, converting it into nutrients, nitrogen, and oxygen.
  2. Operate On Solar Energy. Solar cells will provide 105 percent of Green Oak's annual power needs-but the buildings will also be connected to the grid so that additional power can be purchased if needed on cloudy days or at night. When excess power is generated, it will be sold to other users, reducing the need for coal- or gas-generated power elsewhere.
  3. Purify Water. With roofs designed to facilitate rainwater collection and carbon filters and ultraviolet light to purify that water, the building is designed to serve as its own source of clean water.
  4. Create Oxygen. Oxygen will be produced not only from from the site's extensive woodlands and vegetation but also as a byproduct of natural waste treatment.
  5. Rely On Local Materials. The Living Building Challenge requires that 20 percent of the materials be sourced from within 500 kilometers (300 miles) of Green Oaks, 30 percent from within 1000 kilometers (600 miles), 25 percent from within 5,000 kilometers (3,000 miles), and the final 25 percent from any location. In addition to finding local sources for wood, limestone, and sandstone, we are exploring the use of salvage materials, such as reclaimed brick or lighting fixtures, in the final design.
  6. Be Resilient. Just as the natural world can weather damage from storms and fires, Green Oaks will be able to support life in the event of a significant disruption, offering a reliable supply of electricity and water, with sturdy emergency shelters for significant weather events.
  7. Be Beautiful. Green Oaks' strong connections to nature will inspire students and visitors with the possibility of all we can dream and achieve.

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Printed on Saturday, January 19, 2019