At the EarthWays Center we could not be more excited about the announcement of the Jack C. Taylor Visitor Center. And as the Garden’s Sustainability Division, we are pleased to share the first in what will likely be a series of updates about the sustainable aspects of this project.
As part of the Garden’s commitment to accelerating our region’s transition to a sustainable future we will use the US Green Building Council’s LEEDv4 rating system and pursue the highest level of certification feasible (certification is awarded after project completion). We have high hopes and confidence the resulting green building and its components will be used as examples of sustainable solutions in educational classes and tours for decades to come.
The project is targeting reductions in carbon emissions for both construction and operations that will help improve local climate conditions. In addition to designing a building that makes efficient use of its square footage, the project’s design team has incorporated biophilic design concepts so visitors will sense a Garden experience even as they enter the building. The team has also analyzed the building envelope and structural system to enhance selections for steel, concrete, and façade elements to reduce the environmental impacts of construction.
When we open the new visitor’s center, the optimized energy and water systems will reduce resource consumption during operations. The project features highly efficient mechanical systems that will reduce annual energy expenses by over 20% compared to standard technologies while maintaining comfortable temperature and humidity levels for visitors and plantings. The project will also feature a rooftop solar array that will further reduce energy consumption from fossil fuels. Below-grade cisterns will capture rainwater to irrigate indoor plantings and reduce demand on the municipal potable water system.
Accessibility is a priority in the design of the new visitor’s center. We’ve engaged accessibility experts to ensure guests of all abilities were considered. They are working closely with the architecture and design teams to meet all accessibility standards and leverage best practices from previous projects such as the Gateway Arch and Busch Stadium.
The Garden is working with our general contractor to foster diverse project participation via the inclusion of diverse business enterprises and a diverse workforce with an expectation that minority participation will be maximized within a competitive bid environment.
Environmental, social, and economic interests are the three legs that hold up the sustainability stool. If one is removed, they others will not stand. We are proud to see all three legs accounted for in this plan. At the EarthWays Center we are pleased to do this work every day while supporting the efforts of all our Garden colleagues in their respective divisions. We look forward to sharing updates during the project as more details are fully clarified.
We close this brief introduction to the sustainability features of the new visitor center with the Missouri Botanical Garden mission statement:
To discover and share knowledge
about plants and their environment
in order to preserve and enrich life.
The new center is borne from this commitment, as well as the principles of sustainability because both plants and people need quality air, water, and soil to thrive.