Center of Excellence for Energy Technology
General Contractor Archer Western/Carson
Owner Tarrant County College District
Lead Design Firm Freese and Nichols Inc.
Architect BNIM Architects
The Center of Excellence for Energy Technology is a green building landscaped with bioswales and native plantings and shaded by solar panels. It is also the first new building at Tarrant County College’s south campus since it was built 50 years ago.
Anticipating future changes in heating, air conditioning and refrigeration technologies, all the open ductwork and wiring lends itself to ready transformation as better technologies emerge. The concrete floors, glass overhead garage doors and open architecture will enable updates without major renovation.
Mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems are visible to students so they can view what is typically hidden behind walls and ceilings. Multiple interactive displays show both students and visitors real-time and historical performance data about the center’s energy and water use. The center has the structural flexibility to combine or separate classrooms and move large equipment into and out of the building.
Solar panels provide about one-third of the building’s energy during peak loads and are incorporated into the courtyard design as trellises. A wind turbine offers a practical tool for learning how generators work, while geothermal wells help regulate building temperature. Additionally, the building wings were formed in the shape of an “H” to allow daylight into more of the interior. Permeable pavers and bioretention swales help with sustainable water management in the public courtyard.