Cascade Meadow

Cascade Meadow Wetlands & Environmental Science Center
2900 19th Street NW Rochester, MN 55901 (507) 252-8133

Building Systems

Dive into the systems that bring our building to life. Explore in several ways: through live data feeds, detailed descriptions, and illustrations.


Material Choices

Dig deeper into some of the key material choices we made as we built the Science Center, from the floors to the roofs.


Passive Solar

Passive solar design is a process that informs choices of a building's shape, the materials used, features (such as windows), and their location. Importantly, in Minnesota passive solar design takes into account the seasonal variation of sunlight angles (i.e. the sun is higher in the sky in summer and lower in winter). By designing our building with this in mind we can increase heat gain from the sun during the winter, which reduces heating costs, and decrease heat gain in the summer, which reduces cooling costs.

Passive Solar Diagram


Passive solar design strategies at Cascade Meadow include: 


  1. Physical window shading (like our roof overhang) that blocks the summer sun, but not the winter sun.
  2. Floors made of massive (heavy) materials that can soak up heat from the winter sun shining on them.


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