Building learning: making a carbon neutral campus in McCall, Idaho

  • Frank Jacobus The University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho
  • Keith Bickford The University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho
Keywords: carbon neutral, design-build, zero energy


At the University of Idaho, an interdisciplinary group of faculty and students have created a design-build workshop sequence focused on the development of a carbon-neutral learning center at one of the university’s field campuses in McCall, Idaho. Located adjacent to Ponderosa State Park, an area populated by mature Ponderosa pine trees, the field campus is managed and directed by the McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS), whose mission is to use the outdoors as a context to teach intermediate and high school students from the state of Idaho about science, place, and community. The new sustainable design curriculum, in the form of interdisciplinary workshops, aims to design and construct buildings at the field campus that will eventually embody the sustainable values taught by MOSS. The inaugural design workshop in the sequence began this semester with construction scheduled to begin in the summer of 2010. The intent of the design-build workshop sequence is to redesign and rebuild the field campus over a period of several years using carbon neutral design as an overriding goal. Passive design, in lieu of using heavily embedded technologies, will be a teaching focus in an effort to achieve the workshop and campus objectives. Because of the alpine forest campus location the workshop will have an additional focus on issues of fire-wise construction, snow management, and a use of underutilized materials in the built work. In addition to these aims, and in accord with the MOSS mission of using the outdoors as a teaching tool, the buildings themselves will act as ‘learning instruments’ for the young visitors, making explicit the sustainable principles embedded within. The eventual goal is that the entire campus will attain carbon-neutral performance and will set an example for future learning environments around the globe.

Author Biographies

Frank Jacobus, The University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho
Keith Bickford, The University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho
How to Cite
Jacobus, F., & Bickford, K. (2013). Building learning: making a carbon neutral campus in McCall, Idaho. ARCC Conference Repository.