Green Square Nature Research Center
ENR Office Building
Green Square Complex
The Green Square Complex is a two-block, multi-use sustainable development project that brings North Carolina's state environmental offices and a nationally significant Nature Research Center to the heart of North Carolina's capital city.
The Green Square Complex enables the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences to promote stewardship by example to the general public, while providing experiential learning opportunities focused on the current scientific research and environmental issues affecting our daily lives.
The Green Square Complex encompasses two "green" buildings that incorporate the most current sustainable design strategies. Green buildings are designed to cost less to operate and maintain by employing energy-and water-efficiency techniques, as well as providing greater occupant satisfaction through a healthy interior environment which promotes productivity. The Green Square Complex is a national model of environmental efficiency and sustainability.
The Green Square Complex is striving for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, platinum for the ENR Building and gold for the Nature Research Center.
Green Square Sustainable Features
Both buildings were designed to maximize the use of natural light during the day. High efficiency/low emissivity glass on both buildings minimizes solar heat gain within the buildings, thus saving on cooling energy costs. Light shelves and solar shades help deflect natural light into the core of the building while diffusing light in the lower occupant spaces.
The ENR Building incorporates 100 percent light-emitting diode lighting (LED). 98 percent of the lighting in the NRC is also LED. LEDs have proven to be significantly more energy-efficient than typical building lighting.
Rainwater is collected from the roof of each of the buildings and diverted to an underground cistern on each site. The rainwater is treated and used to flush toilets and urinals, as well as to irrigate the landscaping on each site. Seventy percent of the rainwater that falls on the Green Square Complex is re-used.
Both buildings have a vegetative roof to reduce the amount of heat that radiates from the building rooftop. The green roof also filters the rainwater as it travels from the roof to the cistern. The NRC has a green roof that is accessible during special monitored programs.
Photovoltaic panels convert solar energy into electricity that is used in the NRC. PV panels are located above the NRC atrium and along the bridge above McDowell Street.
Solar Hot Water
The NRC has several solar panels on its roof that convert solar energy into hot water for use in the NRC building labs.
Recycled/Low VOC & Regional Materials
Materials with high recycled content/low volatile organic compounds were used on this project, including concrete, steel, carpeting, furniture, countertops, finishes and masonry. Low volatile organic compounds sealants and paint were also used inside the buildings. Materials manufactured or produced from within 500 miles of the site were given high priority for use within the project.
During the demolition of the three buildings previously on the two sites, the contractor recycled 98 percent of the construction waste generated by the demolition activities. During the construction of the ENR building, the contractor recycled 94 percent of construction waste. During the construction of the NRC building, the contractor recycled 84 percent of construction waste.
Green Square Parking Deck
Though a separate state project, the parking deck on the Green Square site also has a number of sustainable features, including LED lighting, PV panels on the roof, car-charging stations, a cistern for rainwater reuse, bike racks and natural ventilation.