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February 23, 2011

Green Spotlight: Morris Arboretum’s New Horticulture Center Achieves Platinum LEED Certification

The building's green roof capture and absorb rain, slowing the surge of stormwater to the drainage system and reducing ambient summer temperatures. (Photo by Paul Meyer for Morris Arboretum)

The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania has been awarded Platinum Level LEED® Certification, the highest rating of the U.S. Green Building Council, for its new $13 million Horticulture Center at Bloomfield Farm, across the street from the Arboretum’s public garden.

LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the national standard for recognizing green buildings and businesses. The Horticulture Center is the first LEED Platinum certified building for the University of Pennsylvania, and only the second in the state of Pennsylvania.

The newly created 20,840-square-foot facility provides flexible work space for the Arboretum’s horticulture, education, maintenance and facilities staff, creating invaluable infrastructure to help staff manage the Arboretum’s 167 acres of property. The new complex is not open to casual visitors, but is available for scheduled tours and special events.

Importantly, the Horticulture Center is an exhibit of the best sustainable practices of our time. It utilizes a slew of modern energy and water management technologies, and also purchased ten years’ worth of “green power,” which ensures that it will not have to draw on Pennsylvania’s coal-fired electricity grid for its operating needs.

Even more Mother Nature-friendly: one of the two garage roofs was planted by hand with an experimental mix of plant species that are well adapted to seasonal hot and dry conditions.

See below for the comprehensive list of other eco-conscious efforts being practiced by the center.

The Morris Arborteum Horticulture Center follows many additional green initiatives:

• Insulation to eliminate infiltration of outside air and reduce the energy lost through the walls.

• Ventilation to maximize fresh air inside the building.

• An efficient ground-source heat pump for heating and air conditioning, using only about 1/4 the energy of a typical boiler/air conditioning system.

• Photovoltaic panels for on-site generation of renewable energy, with peak electricity production during the hot summer months when demand for electrical power is highest.

• Solar hot water heaters to provide much of the building’s hot water.

• Storm water collection in cisterns for use in toilets and landscape irrigation.

• Skylights and roof monitors to supplement artificial lighting. Photocell sensors will automatically dim the electric lights in use on bright days to reduce energy use.

• Rain gardens and other collection systems to mitigate storm water run off.

Horticulture Center at the Morris Arboretum
100 E. Northwestern Avenue, Chestnut Hill
www.business-services.upenn.edu

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