A park botanist presses plants at the Twin Creeks Science and Education Center.
Gold rating for Twin Creeks Science Center
From a January Press Release: The Twin Creeks Science and Education Center at Great Smoky Mountains National Park has just received certification at the Gold Level under the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Rating System.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson said, “As stewards of America’s most prominent and pristine natural and cultural resources, the National Park Service strives to set the best possible example of developing its facilities in such a manner as to make them as energy efficient and sustainable as we possibly can. In addition, we design structures that minimally disrupt and are visually harmonious with the settings in which they are placed.”
The LEED certification process evaluates structures based upon five environmental categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality. Additional credit is given for Design Innovations. In the case of the Twin Creeks Science Center, the park included a wide range of practices and materials including: minimizing the clearing of the surrounding forest, utilizing many of the boulders uncovered as landscape materials, chipping all the tree cut during construction for use as landscape mulch and constructing wetland pools to filter and clean roof-top and parking area water run-off. It incorporates low-flow sinks and shower fixtures as well as waterless urinals.
The building conserves energy by using large, insulated windows to maximize use of daylight, but also open and close automatically to take advantage of cool mountain breezes instead of air-conditioning. High-efficiency light fixtures adjust automatically to compensate for changes in outside light entering the building. Temperature controls are computerized to reduce energy use on nights and weekends when the building is unoccupied.
The Twin Creeks Science and Education Center is located about two miles from and 1,000 feet above Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Its exterior is clad in regional river stone around the base, with cedar wood and generous amounts of glass above. Five high, gabled dormers echo the mountain scenery surrounding it. Covered porches at each of the two entryways serve as extra gathering and work space.
Southeast climate change workshop
EPA's Office of Water, Office of Air and Radiation, and Region 4 office in Atlanta co-hosted the Southeast Adaptation Workshop on February 2 and 3, 2010, in Atlanta, Georgia. The goal of the workshop was to explore how stakeholders from across the Southeast can work together to adapt to climate change now and into the future.
Return to Resource Roundup: January-March, 2010.