The Gateway Building is a replacement for the existing Oberlin Inn and includes a new hotel, associated event and restaurant spaces, and university administration offices. As the first new building in Oberlin’s proposed Green Arts District and many visitors’ first point of engagement with the campus community, it offered an unprecedented opportunity to build on the college’s history of leadership in environmentally responsible design.
Transsolar’s comfort and energy concept is designed to provide an exceptional guest experience with very low environmental impact. Transsolar steered the environmentally sustainable design through guidance for architecturally integrated passive design, façade design and performance specification, and mechanical climate control system design. This process was supported by extensive daylight, thermal, and energy studies. The passive measures are designed to provide guest-rooms, lobbies, and event spaces with excellent access to daylight and natural ventilation coupled with an interactive guest experience which surpasses typical comfort expectations while encouraging a sustainable lifestyle.
The design features a number of advanced mechanical conditioning systems including radiant panels for space heating and cooling, a first for a hotel in the U.S. It also has a modular heat pump system to meet simultaneous heating and cooling demand originating from diverse space types in the building. An independent geothermal system will be the primary heat addition/rejection source for the building’s mechanical systems and has the potential to connect to a future district geothermal system allowing a net-zero energy district operation.
The building’s site energy consumption is predicted at 30 kBtu/ft²/year making it more energy efficient than 95% similar buildings in the U.S. according to the CBECS and Energy Star Target Finder. The exceptionally low energy use also provides an opportunity for the building to be a net-zero energy building with all renewable energy generated on-site.