First Net-Zero Public Building Opens In Maine

The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is known for educating people about the wonders of nature – and now the organization is also helping to preserve the natural environment with the Borsarge Family Education Center.

The new center is a net-zero building, and is expected to receive LEED Platinum designation. It is also expected to become the only public building in the state of Maine that creates more energy than it consumes, via solar power and other technologies.

net-zero building, Maine Coastal Botanical Gardens

image via Maine Coastal Botanical Gardens

The Portland Press Herald reports that the 8,000-square-foot center – built for $4.2 million – features walls that are a foot thick, a 1,700-gallon rainwater cistern that will help to its flush toilets, and 237 solar panels that will feed power to the grid on days when the the sun shines.

Maine Coastal Botanical Gardens

image via Maine Coastal Botanical Gardens

The new building was funded through an outright gift from the Borsarge family and was designed in the course of a collaboration between Scott Simons Architects of Portland, Maine, and Maclay Architects of Waitsfield, Vt., with input from committees of the Gardens’ board members and staff. It will provide dedicated gallery space, as well as will provide flexible space for classes, workshops, meetings, artists-in-residence and cultural events.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

    • Maine leads the way once again;a net zero bldg. at the mid coast Botanical Gardens. Kudos to the architects.