Reston Spring

Reston Spring
Reston Spring

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Photo of the Day: Reston's Walker Nature Education Center, Meeting LEED Gold Standard

Walker Nature Center, South Facade

From RA's website:

Walker Nature Education Center
11450 Glade Drive, Reston, VA 20191
(703) 476-968

The Walker Nature Education Center is the heart of Reston’s 1,300 acres of open space. The Center provides a variety of educational and recreational resources, programs and facilities.
The mission of the Center is to foster good environmental stewardship through the use of direct experiences and interpretive media. The Center enhances people’s awareness, knowledge, appreciation, and enjoyment of the environment.
The Nature Center is located on 72-acres of hardwood forest, bisected by Glade Drive. Features include:
  • Nature House
  • 2 miles of loop trails
  • ADA Accessible Native Plant Trail
  • Picnic pavilion
  • Picnic tables and trailside benches
  • Campfire ring
  • Outdoor displays and interpretive signs
  • Demonstration gardens and meadows
  • Pond
  • Glade Stream Valley
  • Snakeden Branch stream’s entrance to 44-acre Lake Audubon

Click on the title link above for more information about the Center.  

Friends of Reston press release on award of LEED Gold:

Nature House Celebrates a Golden 1st Year Anniversary  

September 17, 2010

 By Katie Shaw

While most couples wait 50 years to celebrate a golden anniversary, this November, Nature House will celebrate a golden first year anniversary. That’s because the U. S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has officially awarded the new building at the Walker Nature Education Center its LEED Gold certification. LEED® is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. By using less energy, LEED-certified buildings save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, staff and the larger community.

Although over 32,000 projects are currently participating in the LEED program, Nature House is the first new LEED Gold building in the Huntermill District of Fairfax County and one of just 28 new LEED Gold buildings in Virginia. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

With its ground source geothermal heat pump system and SIPS walls, Nature House is 37% more energy efficient than a standard building of its type. Dual flush toilets and low flow fixtures help to attain a 42% reduction in water usage. From its galvalume roof down to its reclaimed barn wood floors, recycled, renewable and non-toxic materials are used throughout the building. “Buildings are a prime example of how human systems integrate with natural systems, “ said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair of the USGBC. “The Nature House project efficiently uses our natural resources and makes an immediate, positive impact on our planet, which will tremendously benefit future generations to come.”

The certification came on the heels of the Reston Citizen’s Association’s presenting Friends of Reston (FOR) with their Sustainable Reston Award for the creation and gifting of Nature House to Reston Association (RA) and the community. FOR is the 501c3 organization that led the $1.5 M capital campaign to build Nature House. FOR President Nancy Herwig remarked that, “The Friends were committed to gifting an environmental education building that reflected Reston’s tradition of excellence in design and conservation. As one of the nation’s premiere planned communities, it was only fitting to go for the gold.”

In its first 9 months of operation, over 5,000 people have visited Nature House from all over Reston, across the United States and as far away as Mexico, Germany and Finland. Thousands more have participated in nature center programs or enjoyed the nature center property for activities like hiking, fishing and dogwalking.

Since the moment its doors opened, people intuitively used the building as a place where all ages and abilities were welcomed to share their experiences of the natural world and learn more about Reston’s natural resources and how to conserve them. They met native wildlife up close in new animal exhibits. They gathered in the multipurpose room for nature puppet shows and organic gardening classes. They held watch at the observation windows for over 29 species of birds known to dine at the feeders. They read nature stories to their grandkids in the children’s bay. They relaxed in front of the fireplace with The Nature Of Reston book. They gathered literature on how to help the environment. They toured the building’s green features and discovered simple, ecofriendly things they could do in their own homes such as planting a rain garden, installing a solar tube for extra day light or choosing a new countertop made with recycled glass. And they asked the naturalist on duty all kinds of nature questions. The minute the doors opened a sense of community filled the space.

Nature House is already a cherished place for Restonians who continue to express their overwhelming satisfaction with the facility and their admiration of its beautiful and ecofriendly design. It has been the location of choice for a variety of functions that define family and community. From baby showers to special scouting ceremonies to memorial services for a loved one, the cycle of life has already played out in this new home for Reston. It is a favorite location for area groups such as the Reston Runners and the Reston Garden Club. And it is a meeting place for RA advisory committees, workshops and forums.

As we approach the one year anniversary of Nature House on November 21, there is much success to celebrate and much support to be thankful for. All of Reston can benefit from and be proud of Nature House.

Project Team
Travis Ritenour, Architect and LEED AP
HITT Contracting, General Contractor
Lucas Hoffman, Potomac Energy Group, MEP Engineer
Paciulli Simmons & Associates, Civil Engineers
EMO Energy Solutions, Energy Modeling and Commissioning
Jacqui Higgins, Accents By Design, Interior Designer

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