Maine Makes its Mark with Greenest Building in the State

BOOTHBAY, Maine — Maine is a little greener now, thanks to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens Bosarge Family Education Center in Boothbay, Maine. The $4.2 million LEED Platinum facility is now the state’s greenest building and has recently achieved net-zero energy status after a year of being operational.

The education center is recognized as one of only a handful of non-residential buildings in New England and only the second commercial LEED Platinum building in Maine.

In order to be considered the “greenest” building in Maine, the education center showed high marks in energy efficiency. After a year of operation, an analysis of the property’s performance confirmed that the center is producing 30 percent more energy than it is using, and the excess energy produced is being used to supplement other power needs on the property.

The 8,000-square-foot education center opened during the summer of 2011 and includes many features that help it to land the coveted spot as Maine’s greenest building.

Waitsfield, Vt.-based Maclay Architects and Portland, Maine-based Scott Simons Architects worked collaboratively on the design.

The design team used a variety of installations including special triple-glazed windows to help the center claim net-zero energy. The windows allow for passive solar gain in the winter, while keeping out the heat in the summer. Making more marks in Maine, the facility also was credited with the lowest air filtration in the state in a recent energy audit of air leakage.

To make the center even more energy-efficient, 135 photovoltaic panels were mounted to the south-facing roof, and an additional 102-panel array is located in a nearby field.

The design team was not the only group working hard to make sure the building could perform to the highest standards. Portland, Maine-based Fore Solutions, a green building consulting company acquired by Thornton Tomasetti in 2012, served as the project’s green building consultant. Fore Solutions made sure all requirements were met to achieve LEED Platinum.

Portland-based Allied Engineering and Energy Balance of Motpelier, Vt., worked to design and engineer the mechanical and electrical systems, which include the massive photovoltaic array. H.P. Cummings of Winthrop, Maine, served as the construction manager, while Becker Structural Engineers provided structural design services.

The facility has been widely praised by the USGBC as well as those in Boothbay and the surrounding communities.

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