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New Nature Research Center is an exhibit in and of itself

Building A Green Future display panelNo doubt about it. The exhibits in the Nature Research Center in downtown Raleigh are amazing.

Hands-on displays and high-tech showmanship will inspire children of all ages to examine the world around them with excitement and wonder. Such was the case when the research center, the new wing of the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, opened in Raleigh April 20.

But equally amazing is the building itself with its many environmentally-sustainable features.

There is an exhibit in the lobby that will help you understand and spot these features throughout your visit to the NRC.

The “Building a Greener Future” exhibit is located behind the staircase in the first floor lobby. It features a scale model of the building and a large interactive display. Buttons illuminate the green systems within the scale model. People who visit the research center can trace the path of the reclaimed water, solar power and recycling systems by pressing their corresponding buttons. 

There is also an informative touch panel "dashboard" that will highlight the building's statistics within these new green systems. When enough day-to-day data has been collected, visitors will be able to see just how much energy has been generated by the solar panels and how much water has been reclaimed. 

Also, using the touch panel, people can learn about the sustainable materials used in the construction of the building.

Some of these sustainable features include:

  • Wood paneling from trees, which once stood on the lot where the research center sits.
  • Bricks salvaged from the site’s former buildings.
  • Granite sourced from a quarry in Georgia.
  • Permeable pavers to help "curb" stormwater runoff and supply water for landscape irrigation and toilets.
  • Low-volatile organic compound floor tiles to keep the air indoors cleaner.
  • Carpet made with fibers from recycled plastic bottles.

As visitors tour the rest of the marvels within the Nature Research Center, they will be able to identify real life examples of a sustainable green building by spotting the green feature emblems.

Want to visit the Nature Research Center? The center is the new wing of the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, 11 West Jones St., Raleigh, N.C. The center is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon-5 p.m. on Sunday. General admission is free. 

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The DENR Sustainability Team is composed of representatives from 27 DENR divisions, offices and programs. Its mission is "to inspire a culture of sustainability within DENR by promoting environmentally responsible actions." More information on DENR Sustainability is available at portal.ncdenr.org/web/sustainability/home
Information on sustainability in buildings and lands in North Carolina is available on the state sustainability team NC Project Green website, www.ncprojectgreen.org.
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