The Horticulture Center at Penn’s Morris Arboretum has been awarded LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), making it the first University building to earn the honor.
LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.
Located on the Arboretum’s Bloomfield Farm, which serves as a support facility for the public garden, the 20,840-square-foot Horticulture Center provides workspace for the horticulture, education, maintenance and facilities staff, and includes offices, conference rooms, kitchen and break rooms, locker rooms, maintenance and storage areas, and vehicle garages. The center is the region’s first newly constructed, not-for-profit LEED Platinum building and only the second in Pennsylvania.
“During 30 years of planning and anticipating this center, our goal was to create a forward-looking building that is respectful of its surroundings and incorporates the highest standards in sustainable principles,” says Paul Meyer, the F. Otto Haas Director of the Arboretum. “We couldn’t be more pleased that it earned the USGBC’s highest rating.”
The $13 million center was designated LEED Platinum for its use of the following sustainable energy and water management technologies: A ground-source heat pump for heating and air conditioning; photovoltaic panels for on-site energy generation; insulation to eliminate outside air infiltration and energy lost through the walls; ventilation to maximize fresh air inside; solar hot water heaters; storm water collection for use in toilets and landscape irrigation; skylights and roof monitors to supplement artificial lighting with natural daylight; rain gardens to mitigate storm water run off; and green roofs for storm-water management and to help reduce the ambient summer temperature.
“The University’s Climate Action Plan calls for all new buildings to be designed to achieve a LEED Silver rating or higher,” says Anne Papageorge, vice president of Facilities and Real Estate Services at Penn. “This project serves as a model for our highest aspirations for future green building and progress towards our sustainability goals.”
Marie Witt, vice president of the Business Services Division, which oversees the Arboretum, says the Horticulture Center is more than a facility that meets the programmatic needs for the Morris Arboretum staff. “The complex itself is an exhibit that will provide enhanced opportunities to demonstrate best sustainable practices,” she says.
To learn more about the sustainable features of the Horticulture Center, view photographs and find information about tours of the site, visit the Horticulture Center website.