• View of Square Tower House, seen along the Mesa Top Loop

    Mesa Verde

    National Park Colorado

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Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center Receives Recognition

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Date: October 29, 2013
Contact: Betty Lieurance, 970-529-4608

The U.S. Department of Energy honored the National Park Service with a 2013 Federal Energy and Water Management Award for the Visitor and Research Center at Mesa Verde National Park. The new building opened to the public in December 2012 and offers visitor services and serves as a research and curatorial facility for the park. 

The Visitor and Research Center is a high-performance sustainable building that demonstrates the use of energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation, recycling, and environmentally preferable materials to fulfill critical needs for park operations. The facility recently received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Platinum rating by the U.S. Green Building Council, a technically difficult feat because the building serves more than 570,000 park visitors each year, and houses more than three million artifacts requiring strict environmental controls.

In addition, the surrounding landscape design achieved certification from the Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™), a comprehensive rating system for sustainable design, construction, and maintenance of built landscapes.

The ecologically sensitive landscape design surrounding the building serves as an extension of the facility to educate the public about the archeological, biological, and physical resources of the park. The design directs stormwater through vegetated swales and retention ponds, and the area was revegetated with a mix of native and drought tolerant plants. 

The project was managed by the Denver Service Center, the central planning, design, and construction management office for the National Park Service. Representatives from the 24 tribes associated with Mesa Verde contributed to the building and exhibits design. The design fabrication and installation was managed by the Harpers Ferry Center, the central interpretive media and exhibits office for the National Park Service.

For a complete listing of all of the 2013 Federal Energy and Water Management Award winners, visit: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/femp/services/awards_fewm2013.html.

For more information about the Sustainable Sites Initiative, visit their website at: http://www.sustainablesites.org/media/press-08-13-13.php.

-NPS-

Did You Know?

Photograph of Cliff Palace, 1895 - 1900 by WH Jackson

On a snowy December day in 1888, while ranchers Richard Wetherill and Charlie Mason searched Mesa Verde’s canyons for stray cattle, they unexpectedly came upon Cliff Palace for the first time. The following year, the Wetherill brothers and Mason explored an additional 182 cliff dwellings.