Maine’s Greenest Public Building
On July 15, 2011, we celebrated the grand opening of the fabulous Bosarge Family Education Center. From that very first day, the Center has been bustling with programs and events, demonstrations and workshops by a series of experts-in-residence, concerts, staff members at work, and a steady stream of visitors who want to explore the building and learn all about it from the electornic ‘dashboard’ in the lobby.
Education is a significant part of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens’ mission, and environmental sustainability is one of the organization’s goals. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum-certified Education Center is a marvel of green design and a model for anyone who wants to make changes to make their own homes and lives “greener.”
The Bosarge Family Education Center is named for the generous donors who gave an outright gift, as well as a challenge grant to encourage additional giving. After a review of energy production and use over its first year, the Center is expected to qualify as a net-zero-energy building, the only public building in the state that creates more energy than it consumes. It will accomplish this level of sustainability through the effective use of solar energy and other technologies.
The building’s Education and Cultural Hall provides flexible space for from one to three classes, workshops, meetings, artists-in-residence, and cultural events for more than 175 people. Attractive interpretive signage throughout the building is full of fascinating and useful information.
The two-story west wing of the Education Center houses offices for the Gardens’ education, administrative, development, and financial staff, as well as much needed meeting spaces. School, youth and adult programs will flourish with the addition of the new building.
One of the many positive aspects of building the new Education Center is its impact on the local and state economy. It will create jobs directly and indirectly. With a full-time staff of more than 20, which swells to more than 40 during the season, the Gardens employs midcoast residents in a broad array of capacities.
Another advantage to the community and state is the opportunity for residents and those in the building trades to see firsthand how green technology can be put to practical use in a structure that is not only efficient, but also beautiful and functional.
The design for the 8,000+- square-foot Education Center, located near the Visitor Center, is the product of a team collaboration between Scott Simons Architects of Portland and Maclay Architects of Waitsfield, Vermont, with input from committees of the Gardens’ board members and staff. The construction was accomplished through a collaborative effort by many professionals. Click here to see details about how the building functions and a list of companies that helped create the building.