Our Green Building

We Walk the Environmental Talk

Ahead of our time in 2003, we built one of the nation’s most environmentally sensitive green buildings. This building is home to our spacious Environmental Learning Center and is named after our founder Dorothy K. Vallier.

Our education center received a Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) award from the U.S. Building Council. The LEED system awards points for incorporating green building practices such as:

  • Natural ventilation
  • Passive solar heating & cooling
  • Daylighting
  • Use of recycled and recyclable materials
  • Reliance on renewable energy sources

Building Features Include…

  • Extensive use of natural light with specially designed and placed window systems that reduce energy needed for lighting
  • A geothermal heating system that uses 90 groundwater wells and the earth’s temperature to provide heating and cooling, lessening the dependence on fossil fuels
  • A 10-kilowatt photovoltaic solar power system, donated by We Energies, that supplies 10 to 20 percent of the buildings electricity
  • Low-flow plumbing that helps protect the environment by reducing water usage

See our Sustainability Fact Sheet for more green building details.

What’s in our green building?

  • Classrooms for our preschool through adult education programs
  • An auditorium
  • Conference room
  • Interactive Exhibits
  • Nature Store

This space allows us to educate over 27,000 children and 145,000 visitors each year. Not only is our building a teaching tool, but it also increases awareness of the use of sustainable building techniques and materials.

Rent our green building for your next event

Our building is the portal to our 185-acre natural outdoor habitat and we take every opportunity to share it with the public. The building’s design allows us to bring the outside in and provides plenty of space for learning, gathering, and relaxing.

For rental information please check out our Facility Rentals page.

 

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