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Courtesy of Dewberry
Countryside Municipal Complex Exterior 5e56a6c1e5c7f

First Net Zero Government Building Opens in Illinois

March 16, 2020
The Countryside Municipal Complex supports state-of-the-art police operations.

City officials recently celebrated the opening of the Countryside Municipal Complex in Illinois, the state’s first Net Zero government building. The 34,500-sq-ft, three-story building, designed to produce as much energy annually as it uses, replaces a 1960s-era city hall and police department. Designed by Fairfax, VA-headquartered Dewberry, the building features numerous sustainable technologies as well as a flexible and modern environment for police and civic operations.

Although not originally intended as a Net Zero building, comprehensive energy modeling combined with design strategies that included a highly efficient continuous air barrier, a carefully tested thermal envelope featuring continuous insulation and glazing with a ceramic frit pattern, and a geothermal mechanical system demonstrated early on that a Net Zero performance was attainable.

With this objective established, Dewberry and the City of Countryside submitted an application to the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation for a Net Zero energy building grant. The foundation awarded the project a $1 million grant that supported the addition of photovoltaic arrays on the roof and above parking stalls, ultimately transforming the project from energy efficient to energy neutral.

Key sustainable features include:

  • 638 solar panels with an estimated annual output of 275.2MWh, enough to produce 100% of the building’s electricity
  • High-performance thermal envelope
  • Energy-efficient mechanical systems incorporating geothermal heating and cooling technology
  • Water-efficient plumbing fixtures
  • LED lighting
  • Insulated, low-emissivity glass
  • A green roof with native plants that reduces storm water run-off
  • A 198-ft monopole tower that will generate revenue for the city by serving as a Verizon cell tower
  • Interpretive signage and displays that describe sustainable features.

For more information, visit