By USGBC Communications

This month marked the 200th Anniversary of Henry David Thoreau's birthday, and in sync with this anniversary, the new, netzero Walden Pond Visitor Center in Concord, MA has earned LEED Gold Certification.  The new facility will house interactive exhibits on writer, Henry David Thoreau, and a film about Walden Pond.  


The LEED Gold Walden Pond Visitor Center, Concord, MA.

The visitor center – a project that's been 40 years in the making – includes a high-performance exterior envelope; energy-efficient heating and cooling systems; landscaping that mimics the natural habitat, as well as wood grown and processed in Massachusetts. The A/E team anticipates the design will provide a 48% reduction in energy costs and 37% reduction in water consumption compared to baseline building.

The new state-of-the-art Walden Pond Visitor Center welcomes guests from around the world to the state reservation. Walden Pond State Reservation, which is a National Historic Landmark, was made internationally known because of the literary works of naturalist Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau, who wrote ‘Walden; or, Life in the Woods’, which reflects on his time spent over the course of two years, two months, and two days in a cabin he built near Walden Pond, inspired the land conservation movement in the United States. To this day, Walden Pond State Reservation remains a heavily used state park with a popular public swimming beach, as well as other outdoor recreational opportunities such as hiking, boating, and fishing.

The new Walden Pond State Reservation Visitor Center features:

  • 5,680 net square feet, approximately two-thirds of which will be dedicated to publicly available interpretive displays related to the life and legacy of Henry David Thoreau;
  • A south-facing orientation providing a wood and glass façade to maximize solar efficiency;
  • Superinsulation with increased roof, wall, and window values to conserve energy;
  • A 9 kilowatt (kW) solar hot water system;
  • A Variable Refrigerant Flow heat pump system;
  • A low flow plumbing system to reduce water consumption; and,
  • A 100 kW solar canopy array in an adjacent parking lot that will generate more than enough clean renewable power over the course of a year for the visitor center.

Congratulations, The Green Engineer (USGBC MA Chapter Sponsor), on the achievements of this wonderful project!

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