By David McKay and Anthony Fay for WWLP
AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – An environmental center in Amherst is being awarded $500,000 from the state for its new home, which is being designed to strict standards only currently met by less than 10 buildings in the entire world.
The 9,000 square foot building will serve as the new home for the Hitchcock Center for the Environment. It will be built to “Living Building” standards, including net zero energy and water usage. The building will feature a visitor’s center with exhibits, adaptive classrooms, outdoor courtyards, decks, and picnic areas, as well as “transparent, interpretive building systems that model and mimic nature.” It will also be designed to harvest rainwater, and will feature composting restrooms.
The Baker administration authorized the $500,000 award to the center. It is being paid for as part of an environmental bonding bill. The center has already received $330,000 from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources as part of their Zero Net Energy program to construct sustainable buildings.
“The construction and opening of the new Hitchcock Center for the Environment will have a far-reaching impact on Massachusetts, and will serve as an excellent example of leadership in the field of renewable technologies,” Baker said. “We are proud to partner with the Hitchcock Center, where thousands of students of all ages will not only learn about responsible environmental practices, but will witness them firsthand.”
Mass. EEA Secretary, Mathew Beaton told 22News, “This will be a one stop shop for folks to come learn about the latest in innovative technology in building science, but then also, how all of it ties into it with our natural world and natural setting in such a beautiful setting.”
Hitchcock Center Executive Director Julie Johnson said, “Helping to connect them to the outdoors, to understand the key ecological cycles and systems of our world and to become stronger environmental advocates.”
The price tag for the whole project is about $6.7 million. They are hoping to be open in the fall.Click here to return to full list of news entries.