June 17, 2010

Audubon project ‘ahead of schedule’

Audubon project ‘ahead of schedule’
New visitor center could open early August
By CHERYL ODDEN

If things continue to progress as they have – ahead of schedule – a new visitor center at Audubon National Wildlife Refuge could open early August.
Jackie Jacobson, the refuge’s outdoor recreation planner, has been involved with the project since groundbreaking late last summer.
This past week, while giving a private tour, Jacobson pointed out numerous construction details that make the $6.1 million project “green” and environmentally friendly.
Jacobson said a variety of recycled products have been used during construction and that no fossil fuels will be used to operate the facility. Electricity will be provided by two vertical access wind turbines. Ground source energy, via 32 geothermal wells, will be used to heat and cool the visitor center. In addition, the structure’s metal roof is exceptionally green; it is green in color and contains 35 percent recycled metal.
Another energy efficient construction detail is more obvious – five clerestories (walls with bands of windows along the top). Jacobson said “We want to drag in as much natural light as we can.” In addition, when portions of the building are not being used, occupancy sensors will automatically dim lights in those areas.
Jacobson noted that SIPS (structurally insulated panels) that were used for exterior walls serve a dual purpose. “It’s one of the reasons construction went so fast,” she said. In addition, the panels minimized the use of wood, thereby helping conserve natural resources.
 


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