Going Green Saving Green
The “green” technologies and sustainable practices used to create our truly distinctive building are in keeping with the mission of appreciating, understanding, and conserving the natural world around us. While our Center is built to help celebrate nature, it is designed to enhance and conserve the park’s natural features, while lessening the energy needs and reliance on non-renewable resources.
While visiting, look for ways to incorporate some of these ideas and technologies at home or work. Stop at the "green" learning stations to learn about what makes the Center more energy efficient and sustainable. The amount of money saved on the Center utilities with green technologies is estimated to be approximately $6,000-10,000 annually! Although these technologies added some cost to the building up front, it will save more over the life of the building.
Stormwater and Biodetention
In the paved world of concrete, asphalt and storm drains, pollutants like trash, oil, pesticides, fertilizers, and other household and yard chemicals easily find their way into streams and community water sources. This building lessens the impact in a variety of ways to make streams healthier and cleaner, while also recharging the groundwater supply levels, and reducing flood damage.
- The permeable parking lot utilizes a plastic grid/sand/gravel system and filters latex tire rubber, oil, antifreeze, and other liquids leaked from cars. Water that normally is diverted to storm drains is allowed to seep back into the ground.
- The green roof consists of layers of plastic sheeting, fabrics, and soil.This roof also decreases water runoff by acting like a sponge, absorbing nearly one million gallons of water each year that would normally end up as runoff in Shoal Creek.
- The biodetention area in front of the building captures green roof and site runoff allowing water to absorb into the ground, decreasing the amount of storm water into Shoal Creek. Plantings around the biodetention area also decrease water runoff by their utilization. They also help to filter out water pollutants.
- The cistern in the front garden holds 1,000 gallons of water collected from roof runoff. This water can be used to care for the native plants in the landscaping and gardens.
Ninety percent of the local community's water comes from Shoal Creek, while 10% comes from underground. Simple technologies and changing habits can have a big impact on this resource.
- Waterless urinals reduce our overall water and energy needs.
- Faucets with spray heads instead of a solid streams decreases the amount of water used.
- Compact flash heaters eliminate the need for tank heaters. Gone are the days of wasting water and energy waiting for it to heat up!
Recycling and Building Materials
Resources are needed to live-- food, water, shelter, and energy, but as the human population on Earth grows, and more resources are needed, the impact on the planet increases. Recycling is one way to reduce this impact and the need for new materials by re-using discarded materials in innovative new ways.
- Recycled plastic milk jugs were made into carpet tiles and the plastic lumber for the glade overlook deck.
- Many of the trails are surfaced with reused asphalt millings from area roads and include 6% pulverized, recycled glass.
- The paints, stains and varnishes in the building are water based and contain low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs)-- so less chemical air pollutants indoors. No "new building" smell!
- The exposed chipboard ceiling throughout the building uses wood waste reclaimed from saw mills.
- The steel supports and framing of the building are made from 90% recycled steel.
- Recycled and shredded cardboard was used throughout the building for insulation.
- During construction, tons of wood, metal, and cardboard waste was recycled instead of landfilled.
- The fireplace stone and exterior landscaping reused rocks from the construction site.
- The Center only buys paper with a recycled content for brochures and other materials.
- The Center recycles and so can you! By recycling waste products and buying products with recycled content, you are helping create a market for these materials and driving down costs.The more that is recycled, the more money and resources that are saved!
Non-renewable energy resources like coal, oil and natural gas, release harmful contaminants and contribute to air pollution which accelerate climate change. The less energy generated from these sources, the cleaner the environment becomes.
The geothermal heating and cooling system uses constant 58 degree underground temperature to heat and cool the building.
- The green roof acts as a thermal blanket, insulating the building from extreme heat and cold. Planted with native glade and prairie plants like little bluestem and buffalo grass, cacti and coreopsis, it is beneficial for wildlife too! The green roof utilizes 8" thick structural insulated panels.These panels, coupled with double paned windows, shotcrete exterior, cardboard insulation and below soil grade construction all contribute to an insulating "R-Factor" of 25-30. A typical home may have an insulation factor of 10-12.
- Light and motion sensors in each room detect space use and how much daylight is coming in through windows and adjusts lighting needs accordingly.
- Timers on parking lot lights save energy and also reduce light pollution, which harms some nocturnal creatures. It is estimated 4-5 million birds in the U.S are killed annually by colliding with buildings and towers due to light pollution at night. The exterior light fixtures direct light downward.
- Fluorescent lighting in the Center cuts energy costs. Energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) cost more than incandescent bulbs initially, but last much longer and over time, save more money and energy.
- Many of the building appliances, computers, and equipment are Energy Star compliant and equipped with standby and sleep modes.
- Daylighting from skylights, large windows, and light shelf diffusers above windows help provide more natural light in the building.
- Wildcat Park and the Audubon Center are destinations in Joplin's metropolitan trail system and are accessible by foot and bicycle. No need to hop in the car each visit-- save energy and stay healthier.
To learn more about sustainable building processes and technologies visit:
U.S. Green Building Council
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Region M Solid Waste Management District