Class of 1966 Environmental Center
Williams College, Williamstown MA

Nick Noyes photo

This 9,500 square foot building on a 1.1 acre site houses the Center for Environmental Studies and the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives for Williams College. For this project Integrated Eco Strategy consulted on all imperatives of the Living Building Challenge. The project was petal certified in March of 2017.



Architect: Black River Design Architects

Civil Engineer: Guntlow & Associates

Landscape Designer: Wagner Hodgson

LBC Consultants: Integrated Eco Strategy


The building incorporates a historic 1790s frame structure and new construction. The original Kellogg House was stripped down to its basic framing to bring the wiring up to code, allow modifications to the original windows, air sealing and insulation work. Significant regrading for the new building was required to prepare for an entrance courtyard, outdoor seating set into a hill, orchards and gardens, and the storm/waste water on-site treatment systems. Inside, the old and new are merged into one with offices, a library, classroom space and a kitchen.

This is the first historic renovation project for the International Living Future Institute.

Living Building Challenge v2.1 Petal Certification on this project means that all imperatives of the following petals were achieved:

Site: the building was appropriately sited and connects occupants to the land and its natural processes, including its ability to grow food (35% of the site is devoted to growing food). In addition, a parcel of land twice as big as the building site was protected forever as conservation land.

Water: all potable water comes from a rainwater collection and treatment system – in fact, the first licensed system of this type in Massachusetts. The building’s roof essentially becomes a mini-watershed that drains to the onsite collection tank. Additionally, all greywater and stormwater is contained and treated onsite via constructed ponds and rain-gardens.

Healthy Air: the design of the building prioritizes human health and well-being.

Materials: all ingredients of every single building product and material were researched so that only the healthiest materials the marketplace offers were used. In addition, materials were sourced locally; all construction waste was sorted for recycling; and the embodied carbon footprint for the entire building site was off-set.

Equity: the building and site are accessible to all, and the design does not prevent equal access to water, sunlight or healthy air for its neighbors.

Beauty: the building intends to inspire and educate all visitors about this radically sustainable and regenerative approach to the built environment and our use of water, energy, and raw and processed materials.