This project includes office space for the 640 DENR employees, the Nature Research Center (NRC) which includes a restaurant/retail area, a connecting bridge to the existing museum from the NRC, a connecting bridge from the NRC to the DENR Office Building, and 426 parking spaces for an underground parking deck. Principles of green building and sustainable design will position the project for a minimum of LEED™ Gold certification. Included in this project are related site work, utilities and existing building demolition.
The DENR Office Building, NRC and Museum of Natural Sciences will be designed to connect via a bridge. This will allow an unbroken linkage of structures dedicated to North Carolina's environmental and cultural resources beginning at the intersection of Jones and Dawson streets through the intersection of the Jones and Wilmington streets. DENR offices and the NRC will be tied to a 900-car parking deck behind the NRC along McDowell Street as a separate project.
The bridge connectors from the existing museum to the NRC are proposed to function as a circulation to the NRC as well as an exhibit. The bridge connecting the NRC to the DENR offices will be only for DENR and NRC staff. The location of both bridges will be designed to maintain unobstructed views for northbound traffic on McDowell Street and southbound traffic on Salisbury Street. The bridges could be used to locate photovoltaic cells or wind turbines to support renewable energy initiatives.
The site design will emphasize the conservation and protection of resources and the natural environment. The project will set a goal of reducing its potable water demand by at least 50 percent of normal office or museum building through recycling, stormwater reuse, high efficient water fixtures and other means.
Where feasible, the building roofs will be constructed as a "green roof" to reduce stormwater runoff, reuse stormwater and reduce the heat island effect. The design will collect rainwater in cisterns for reuse, such as the flushing of toilets. The landscaping will be designed with the use of native plants and/or adaptive regional plants that both require minimal irrigation and attract wildlife. Any required irrigation will be accomplished with collected rainwater. Drip irrigation will be utilized to ensure the irrigated water is placed where it will be fully utilized by the vegetation. In addition to green roof systems, any green walls would utilize planting material to reduce the heat island effect. Environmentally conscious landscaping will reduce stormwater runoff.
Condensate from air handlers will be routed to the landscaping or cisterns. A gray water collection system will be incorporated if possible.
Outside walkways will consider utilizing recycled materials constructed of permeable materials with an underlayment that will allow stormwater infiltration into the soils below. Recycled aggregate or glass in pavement will also be considered. Highly reflective paving for parking and hardscape areas will be used to reduce the impact on urban heat island effect. Pervious pavement design will be used to promote infiltration of stormwater. The project will work with the city of Raleigh to adhere to the urban design guidelines for all streetscape and landscaping requirements within the right-of-way.
The project will consider alternative forms of transportation such as bicycle racks and onsite shower facilities, and preferred parking for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles.