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A Model for ‘Green’ Architecture

Judson University is located near the Fox River in Elgin. Te University’s Harm A. Weber Academic Center’s genuinely ‘green’ design begins and ends with energy consciousness.

Judson opened the copper-colored, 88,000- square-foot building, located at IL. Rt. 31 (State Street) and I-90, in 2007. Te use of a building-integrated photovoltaic system and other thermal recovery features, like natural ventilation and natural day-lighting, makes the Harm A. Weber Academic Center one of the “greenest” buildings in the United States.

Cindy Skrukrud

Cindy Skrukrud says she has always been interested in conservation issues. But it wasn’t until she moved to Solon Mills in McHenry County in 1988 that she really became involved.

Te facility’s integrated thermal energy recovery system is designed to minimize life-cycle costs while providing a healthy environment for study and work. It cuts operational fossil fuel costs by at least 50% by optimizing solar gains in the spring and fall, allowing the building to run naturally, with little or no mechanical intervention, for six or more months of the year. Te system also cuts environmental ‘costs’, as it allows the building to release considerably less or possibly even zero CFC’s (chloro-fluoro carbons) into the community.

Te facility is designed to meet the standards of the U.S. Department of Energy high- performance buildings and in 2009 earned a LEED Gold rating by the U.S. Green Building Council, the national organization that certifies and rates when a building has met green building and performance measures.

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“I was working at the University of Illinois at Chicago as a biochemist at the time and I joined the McHenry County Defenders, a 40-year-old county- based environmental group that deals with all sorts of enviromental issues, like protecting ground water,” she says.

In 1990 Cindy became president of the Defenders, and then in 1993, when the group’s executive director left, she resigned her job at the U of I to fill that position.

Cindy, who also is on the board of Friends of the Fox River, says one of her proudest achievements is the creation of that organization’s Fox River Study Group, which she has chaired. It has brought a diverse group of interested public and private parties together to monitor the Fox River’s water quality and to plan for the future.

“Every segment of the Fox River has some problems . . .You have to realize you just keep working on it and things improve and people see the value of what you are working on, and things improve a little more.”

Fox River Heroes

Conservation: Eco-Friendly

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