Archived News: This news release is more than one year old and may include outdated information.

The City of Madison Engineering Division, Parks Division, and Olbrich Botanical Gardens are proud to announce that the Frautschi Family Learning Center addition has achieved a LEED© Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. This is the City’s fourth platinum certification overall and the third in the last 2 years. Platinum is the highest certification level and exceeds the 2008 City of Madison Common Council Resolution which requires a minimum of Silver certification on all major renovations and new construction for City owned buildings.

LEED© is a scorecard of metrics for site design, building design, sustainability, renewable energy, and other measurable standards. The USGBC evaluates documentation submitted by the City, the design team, and the construction team which produces the final score. The learning center project scored 84 out of 100 possible points, 60 is required for Silver.

The Olbrich Botanical Gardens new Frautschi Family Learning Center enhances learning opportunities related to sustainability and garden stewardship. An addition to a small complex of connected buildings, the project contributes to the Olbrich Botanical Gardens’ goal of becoming internationally known as a leader in environmental education.

The Frautschi Family Learning Center includes all of the following in its innovative design features:

  • Urban recycling of ash trees, used in interior window construction and trim
  • On an annual basis, the Learning Center will use 67% less energy than a building built to minimum code standards.
  • 9 kW photovoltaic solar panels on the roof, which provides ~20% of the new additions’ electric use
  • In floor heating and cooling on the first floor, which requires an air handling system that maintains tight control of humidity levels in the space.
  • Large windows for daylighting and views to the surrounding gardens.
  • Daylight sensors that automatically dim LED lighting
  • Occupancy and vacancy sensors for lighting and heating control
  • LED lighting throughout the project that reduces electricity use and heating load significantly.
  • A high performance building envelope that significantly reduces air infiltration
  • The classroom layouts allow flexibility for small to large groups and events, with circulation space that allows for auxiliary uses. The classrooms also include state of the art audio and video systems.
  • The building also includes an outdoor classroom and a second level, outdoor, roof top, seating area overlooking the gardens.

In addition, the Learning Center collects almost all of the rain water from its roof in a 60,000 gallon cistern located below its first floor. The harvested rain water is then used for watering the indoor plants in the conservatory and greenhouses. This reduces potable water consumption and also salt and energy use from the reverse osmosis system.

The design team included City staff from: Engineering Division-Facility Management Section, Olbrich Botanical Gardens and Olbrich Botanical Society. MSR Design architects Traci Lesneski and Chris Wingate led the professional architectural and engineer team. This is MSRs second LEED platinum certification with the City of Madison (the Madison Municipal Building renovation was awarded LEED platinum in 2018). Sam Daniels and Joe Trainor were lead project managers for the construction team from Joe Daniels Construction. Many local and regional construction tradespersons and other construction professionals were also involved with this project.


Engineering, Parks