Sweetwater Creek Visitor's Center

Green Building Features


• Building is integrated into the hillside, minimized site disturbances
• The building uses an existing parking lot, minimizing new paving
• Alternative transportation – bicycle storage and shower provided
• Site disturbance limited to 40 feet beyond building, 5 feet beyond walkways
• No net increase in rate and quantity of stormwater runoff
• BMP implementation for removal of suspended solids and phosphorous in stormwater
• 37% of roof is landscaped and 63% is high-reflectance/high emissivity metal roofing, resulting in reduced heat island effect and storm water runoff
• Light pollution reduction – zero direct-beam illumination leaves the building site


• Rainwater harvesting, via the main section of metal roof is stored in a 10,000 gallon cistern for non-potable uses such as hand washing, mop and lab sinks, and exterior wall hydrants
• Minimal site landscaping reduces water usage
• No sewer-waterless urinals and composting toilets
• Converting Waste to Food – Nitrogen rich liquid from the compost bins will be used with diluted greywater before being fed to a demonstration garden using drip irrigation lines at the root level of the plants
• Centrally located recycling station accessible to the public as well as the building’s staff
• Water Conservation Strategies result in a potable water use reduction of 77%


• Long rectangular shape with the long side facing south and the short ends facing East/West to shape and orientation of building maximizes solar exposure and control
• Earth sheltered construction on the north side of the building
• Energy performance achieving a 34% reduction from the ASHRAE 90.1-1999 Standard
• Design of fenestration for daylighting and control of solar gain
• High insulation values – R-40 roofs, R-19 walls
• Equipment using no HCFC’s or halon
• The purchase of green power is being considered for this building


• Construction waste management – Recycle and/or salvage at least 75% (by weight) construction waste
• Steel structure, framing, and siding contribute to the use of locally manufactured building materials using recycled content
• Masonry stucco and fly-ash concrete increase use of locally manufactured building material

Indoor Environmental Quality

• IAQ management plan during construction and before occupancy
• Low-emitting materials used throughout interior
• Ample clerestory windows along north and south facades provide daylighting
• South facing windows protected from summer sun by sunshades/light shelves