Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., is scheduled next week to open a sustainably designed 17,000-square-foot campus facility designed to provide its own energy and water, and treat its own waste.

The college says the R.W. Kern Center has been designed to become the sixth building in the world to receive Living Building Certification as a net-zero energy, waste and water building. The facility's green design and construction is part of institution's efforts to become a carbon-neutral campus by 2020.

Alumni and other donors gave a total of $8.9 million to Hampshire to pay for the building.

When it opens on April 29, the Kern Center will serve as a new entry point onto the campus and will house the offices of admissions and financial aid, as well as welcome areas, classrooms, and social areas such as a coffee bar.

The facility was built mostly with materials from local and regional sources and avoided products that had potentially hazardous chemicals such as asbestos, chlorofluorocarbons, neoprene, formaldehyde, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, lead, mercury, and polyvinyl chloride.

The building is outfitted with composting toilets, solar panels, rainwater collection and wastewater treatment systems. Heavily insulated roofs and walls, and energy-efficient windows enable the center to minimize energy consumption.

The architect is Bruner/Cott & Associates.

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