Forest Service Unveils "Green" Research and Training Center
Facility to Serve as Primary Education Center at Bent Creek Experimental Forest
October 13, 2010
Asheville, NC — The USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) today unveiled a new "green" building at Bent Creek Experimental Forest that gives foresters and scientists the space they need to share information about hardwood forest ecology and management. Community leaders and partners joined SRS Director Jim Reaves and other Forest Service officials for a ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning to open the Forestry Research and Training Center.
"The new training center will play an important role at the historic Bent Creek Experimental Forest by serving as the main portal for technology transfer and science delivery," said Reaves. "The facility provides a modern, environmentally friendly venue where Bent Creek scientists can share research results with those who apply the knowledge on the ground and help sustain hardwood forest ecosystems in the Southern Appalachian Mountains and beyond."
Also participating in the event were Angela Coleman, associate deputy chief for Forest Service Research and Development, Washington, D.C.; Katie Greenberg, Bent Creek Experimental Forest project leader; and Mark McDonough, SRS engineer. Gerry Jackson, SRS assistant director for Business Operations, hosted the ceremony.
The Forestry Research and Training Center will be the primary location where Bent Creek researchers convey "state of the science" information on hardwood forest ecology, management and restoration to natural resource professionals. The 6,587-square-foot, $1 million training center provides space for small conferences, workshops and research meetings. The handicapped- accessible building can accommodate up to 50 people and provides office space for several Forest Service employees. SRS constructed the research and training center with general Station funds.
The Forest Service designed the facility to meet standards required by the United States Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification. Certification of the building is pending. The building is 16 percent more efficient than a standard building. The Forest Service incorporated numerous "green" features that make the building more energy efficient than traditional systems, including:
- Seven small, highly-efficient HVAC split systems allow for zoned heating and cooling of occupied spaces. When the conference room is not in use, that area of the building can be isolated to lower heating and cooling demands. A reflective roof system, increased building insulation and insulated windows and doors also increase energy efficiency.
- Energy-efficient light fixtures and lighting control systems with daylight and occupancy sensors reduce artificial lighting levels when natural light is present and/ or turn off light fixtures in unoccupied areas.
The building and its construction incorporated other environmentally friendly features such as:
- Low-flow plumbing fixtures and native plants (that do not require irrigation) help reduce water consumption.
- Practices on the land that minimized site disturbance and reduce erosion, storm water runoff and sedimentation in nearby streams.
- Extensive use of local and regional materials reduced the amount of fossil fuel used for material transportation.
- Extensively used recycled building materials. Waste was recycled or reused on other projects. Less than 25 percent of all construction waste was sent to the local landfill.
- Building materials, paints, caulks and adhesives with low volatile organic content help enhance indoor air quality. No ozone-depleting refrigerants are used in building systems. All workspaces have operable windows providing access to fresh outdoor air.
TMS Construction, based in Clarksville, Tenn., was general contractor for construction of the training center. The contractor performed about 25 percent of the work, and local subcontractors performed about 75 percent. The project involved 17 subcontractors and provided work for an estimated 76 people.
Bent Creek Experimental Forest is the oldest experimental forest east of the Mississippi River and the third oldest managed by the USDA Forest Service. Established in 1925 for research purposes, the experimental forest provides a demonstration of forest management practices. Long-term research conducted at Bent Creek has made significant contributions to the understanding of silviculture and forest ecology in upland hardwood forests of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Forest managers apply research results to help keep forests, and the wildlife communities they support, healthy and diverse.
Bent Creek Experimental Forest is one of 19 experimental forests maintained by the Southern Research Station, headquartered in Asheville. The Station is comprised of about 120 Forest Service scientists and several hundred support staff who conduct natural resource research in 20 locations across 13 Southern states (Virginia to Texas). The Station's mission is "…to create the science and technology needed to sustain and enhance southern forest ecosystems and the benefits they provide." Learn more about SRS at: http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/.