Cusano Environmental Education Center
Prototype for the Green Construction Movement
When local resident Anthony Cusano died, he left his entire estate to the Department of Interior with the stipulation that the money be used to provide for environmental education for local children. This donation, coupled with fund-raising efforts by the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation and FOHR, resulted in the construction of the Cusano Environmental Education Center (CEEC).
Designed by Susan B. Maxman & Partners in Philadelphia, the building was constructed embracing the principle of “sustainable design.” This means that all materials used in construction are either recycled or are certified to be from renewable resources.
Low impact construction was implemented when the CEEC was constructed on pilings, allowing the natural drainage flow on the site to be uninterrupted. Native landscaping was used, and rainwater harvested in barrels for use as needed.
Energy effiicency is maximized through a well-insulated building envelope, use of natural daylight, and a geothermal heating and cooling system.
Recycled materials, or those from sustainable managed forests, were selected for use in construction. Salvaged logs from timber operations in Oregon became structural beams. Cork flooring was harvested form the bark of cork trees (new bark would be ready for harvesting in another seven years). Recycled tires were used for flooring in the classroom wing, and shredded newspaper was used as a nontoxic insulation material.
Reduced water consumption was achieved through the construction of a “marsh machine” greenhouse, which uses marsh plants to cleanse waterwater for re-use in flushing toilets.
The CEEC contains three well-used wings. One wing houses the FWS offices, another contains classrooms, and the third contains an exhibit area, library, auditorium, bookstore,and offices for FOHR.