I had an opportunity last week to take a tour of the Indiana state headquarters of The Nature Conservancy. The Efroymson Conservation Center received a great deal of publicity, justifiably so, when its doors opened about 13 months ago.
Green buildings may not be The Nature Conservancy’s primary focus, but sustainability is and its home shouts sustainability inside and out. You can learn much more from the organization itself, but a few nuggets from the tour of a near eastside downtown Indianapolis building expected to earn LEED Platinum status:
- Saving the city an estimated $600,000 over 30 years by not connecting to the city sewer system
- Thirty-eight wells, each 300 feet deep, in a closed loop geothermal system. The result: being able to "access 55 degrees whenever we want it," using traditional heating/cooling as a supplemental source.
- Utilizing 43% less energy and 83% less water than a traditional building.
- Taking advantage of as much natural light as possible, with offices and large windows situated along an expansive north/south corridor.
- Add in a green roof, a "live wall" that features planters in a slanted retaining wall, recycled bricks from the original structure, Indiana hardwoods and limestone, a front desk made from salvaged timbers and plenty more.
I don’t feel I’ve done the structure and the organization justice with this brief description. Let’s summarize this way: it’s impressive, the organization is doing great work throughout Indiana and beyond, and if you want to see for yourself, they’ll be happy to show you around.