Sustainability and the Jester Park Nature Center

Conservation and sustainability go hand-in-hand, and the Jester Park Nature Center will be a model for the merger of these concepts. The foundation on which the Center will be built revolves around the idea of creating an inviting space for visitors to not only learn about the natural world but also ways to sustain modern living in an ecologically responsible manner

The center will demonstrate and educate visitors on the value of sustainable construction of a modern space. The goal is to provide an example of common practices that people may incorporate into their own homes and businesses. The Jester Park Nature Center's overall objective is to minimize the impact of the built environment on both human health and the natural environment in which it exists. This will be accomplished by efficiently using energy, water and other resources; by reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation; and by protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity.

Some of the principle features of sustainability and healthy building practices that will be built into the framework of the Jester Park Nature Center include:

Natural Daylighting, LED Lighting and Occupancy Sensors

Besides its many aesthetically pleasing attributes, utilizing natural lighting from the sun touts many other benefits such as increasing productivity and comfort of a space for occupants, balance natural human circadian rhythms, and substantially lower energy usage. 

However, daylight is quite variable and unpredictable on both the daily and seasonal scale and is dependent on current weather conditions and solar position. Enter in the benefits of LED lighting!

LED (light-emitting diode) lighting represents a big leap in the lighting industry. These bulbs are highly efficient in terms of energy usage and are long-lasting, using around 75% less energy and lasting 25 times longer than an incandescent bulb ( LEDs are “directional” light sources which means they emit light in a specific direction, unlike incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs which emit light - and heat - in all directions. For this reason, LED lighting is able to use light and energy more efficiently. Occupancy sensors will then further complement energy usage and lighting plans for the Center by detecting when occupants are utilizing space and promptly shut off lighting when none are detected.
Geothermal Heating and Cooling, and Thermal Building Enclosure

A geothermal heat pump system will provide heating and cooling for the Center. This type of system uses the natural insulating properties of the earth to circulate water or liquids through buried coils that are warmed or cooled by the ground temperature. Ground source heat pump systems are over 40% more efficient than traditional heating and cooling systems.

Heating and cooling doesn't end with the unit used to supply a climate controlled environment.  Current building codes require a minimum rating in terms of insulation of walls and roofs by way of  their resistance to heat flow (R-value). A higher R-value denotes great insulating power. The building will be constructed with higher R-values than is required of insulation to further enhance the efficiency of the building. 

Parkitecture and Water Conservation 
The term "parkitecture" implies that a building’s aesthetic is sensitive to the natural surroundings; that the building becomes a part of the natural setting. Native plantings will not only serve this purpose, beautify the outside of the Center and educate the public on the benefits of native landscapes, but it will put education into practice. The use of native vegetation in rain gardens and bioswales on the grounds of the Center will act as an effective natural filter to remove pollution and remediate erosion that travels over the land in stormwater runoff. Water from rain or melting snow running off of the Center site will be filtered in these bioswales before entering into the watershed further downstream. 

You and every visitor that will pass through our front doors will be part of our bond, our legacy and our responsibility to the land. These features of the Jester Park Nature Center and more represent a model of  applicable building practices. It is our hope that the Jester Park Nature Center will serve to plant seeds of inspiration in each visitor to lead a more ecologically responsible lifestyle when they return home. 



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