One of the most impressive things about the Kent Denver Dining Hall is that after serving 750 lunches, it produces only one bag of trash that can't recycled or composted. Designed by the Denver-based Semple Brown Design, the LEED Platinum dining hall was renovated and expanded in order to meet the increasing student population. A myriad of sustainable design strategies work together to create an energy efficient and environmentally friendly building, all with the goal of creating a holistic dining experience. Rain gardens, solar power, recycled materials, a living herb wall and an orchard are just a part of Kent Denver School's educational program.
Located in Englewood, Colorado the Kent Denver School is home to almost 700 middle and high school students. The 210-acre campus is home to a variety of environments including native grasslands, lakes, wetlands and a variety of wildlife. The dining hall was renovated and expanded in order to accommodate all of the students and overlooks the entire campus. Besides increasing the capacity of the dining hall, the goal of the renovation was to increase the students’ connection with their surrounding environment and help educate them about their food. To that end, the dining hall also boasts 2 bee hives that help pollinate an orchard that provides fruit to be incorporated into meals. Inside, a 16 sq foot living wall grows 576 plants and herbs that can be used for cooking.
Multi-purpose by design, the dining hall is flexible for a variety of uses beyond the lunch service. Operable windows and sliding doors open the space up to encourage natural ventilation, while a natural daylighting scheme eliminates the need for artificial lighting except on overcast days. A high albedo membrane roof keeps the building cool, and the angled roof lines direct rainwater to three drip chains that flow into landscape features before flowing into natural treatment and the school’s wetlands. Waterless urinals, low-flow toilets and faucets reduce potable water, and a 27 kW roof mounted solar photovoltaic array provides 50% of the building’s energy.
Materials were chosen to be economical, durable and environmentally friendly, like the brick and recycled content copper shingles on the exterior of the building. During construction, the contractor was able to reduce construction waste by 85% and then once the hall was in operation, waste is kept to a minimum. After lunch service and when everything has either been recycled or composted, there is only 1 bag of trash.
Images ©Ron Pollard Photography