Botanical Garden greener than ever - Carolina Country

Botanical Garden greener than ever

The new Education Center at the North Carolina Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill opened in September to accolades for its superior dedication to eco-friendly features. The 29,656-square-foot center, which will be the hub of the garden's extensive educational outreach activities, received the highest level of certification for green architecture: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum.

The three-building complex relies on green technologies such as photovoltaic panels, above- and below-ground rainwater cisterns, stormwater retention ponds, geothermal heating and air-conditioning, natural day-lighting and low-flow plumbing. Construction materials were obtained within a 500-mile radius, including lumber milled from the site. Recycled components include steel beams made from scrap metal from automobiles. A new, expanded parking lot is topped with rain-permeable surfaces to minimize runoff. Funds to help build the $12.5 million center have so far been contributed by University of North Carolina students and more than 500 other individuals. The $210,000 student gift came from a personal "sustainability fee" approved by the students. Donations are still needed, and naming opportunities for parts of the facility still exist. For more information, visit or call (919) 962-9457.

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