Walden Pond Visitor Center | U.S. Green Building Council
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LEED BD+C: New Construction v3 - LEED 2009

Walden Pond Visitor Center

915 Walden Street
Concord, MA 01742
United States

LEED Gold 2017

Walden Pond State Reservation is an internationally acclaimed National Historic Landmark and protected open space along 330 acres. Over 500,000 visitors visit the pond annually due to its great beauty, as well as to be inspired by Henry David Thoreau's life and writings. The surrounding towns of Concord and Lincoln are sources of significant contributions to 19th century American literature, as well as the birthplace of the modern conservation movement.

The 5,575-sf unpretentious Visitor Center interweaves with the landscape in order to emphasize the pond and heighten the experience of the site. The building is nestled behind trees and shrubs with a long accessible ramp to draw visitors into the center. Exhibition spaces, a community meeting room, and staff offices create a gathering and interpretive space for visitors as well as serves as the park headquarters. An open-air deck of locally-sourced, heat-treated ash with a black locust trellis provides a sitting area at the entrance.

The structure is an all-electric, net-zero consumption building and implements Passive House principles. The building systems use no fossil fuels. In winter, high-performing triple-pane windows and super insulation keep the heat in. In warmer weather, ample operable windows, ceiling fans, and clerestories create natural ventilation and light, reducing the need for air conditioning and artificial lighting. A 105-kW photovoltaic solar canopy provides shade over the parking lot and services all the energy needs of the building and state reservation. An electric charging station allows visitors to charge vehicles. The walls and floors of the building are from locally-sourced heat-treated maple, ash, and red oak to withstand the New England weather. Framing and sheathing materials are FSC certified. Water efficient plumbing fixtures and low/no-VOC paints and finishes were used throughout.

The Visitor Center's design has focused on reducing energy use compared to a baseline building by incorporating south-facing orientation to facilitate solar heat gain and use of natural light; super insulation to conserve heat through increased roof, wall and window insulation values; automatically controlled 0.6 watt/sf LED lighting systems; a 4.5 kW solar hot water heating system; and a Variable Refrigerant Flow heat pump system. Building systems are anticipated to reduce energy consumption by 48% plus savings from the PV array and solar hot water heating system. Interpretive displays educate the public about the building energy saving features and its net zero energy use.

The project is a LEED Gold, Net Zero Energy Building.

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Project details
5,575 sf
22 Jun 2017
Data Reporting
Energy Update
Water Update
Transportation Update
Waste Update
Human Experience Update

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