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.
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.
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.