State of Wyoming Department of Transportation
Near Cheyenne, Wyoming
The new 27,000 SF Southeast Wyoming Welcome Center offers much more than just restroom facilities to road-weary travelers. It also serves as a museum with interpretive displays, provides a new home for the Wyoming Office of Tourism, and includes warehouse space for the Wyoming Department of Transportation. The RMH Group—the project’s mechanical/electrical engineer and lighting designer—worked closely with the project owners and fellow design team members to deliver a highly sustainable and inviting building.
The design team harnessed sunlight and wind to deliver nearly 40 kW of zero-emissions power—enough to offset more than half of the building’s electrical demand. Photovoltaic (solar) panels on the roof and walls of the building generate approximately 27 kW of electricity, while five on-site wind turbines provide the balance of renewable power.
The welcome center’s HVAC system was built around a ground source heat pump (geo-exchange) system that utilizes the relatively constant temperature of the earth to provide efficient building heating and cooling and features more than 11 miles of heat-transferring geo-exchange coils buried beneath the 26.6-acre project site. Thermal displacement ventilation—a low-energy-use air distribution system in which incoming air originates low in the space and rises in thermal plumes to exhaust outlets at the ceiling—was implemented for the public and office portions of the facility. In addition to saving energy, thermal displacement ventilation enhances indoor air quality and thermal comfort for building occupants.
Daylight harvesting, which optimizes the amount of healthy natural light brought into building spaces while limiting the use of electric lighting, was enhanced by the welcome center’s long axis and relatively narrow width. High-efficiency electric lighting supplements natural daylight when necessary.
Photo credit: AndersonMasonDale Architects and Sampson Construction
Engineering News-Record/ENR Mountain States, Best 2013 Projects, Award of Merit: Green Project, 2013