Berks Nature’s The Nature Place has been awarded LEED Gold status by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

What does that mean? Here’s a little cheat sheet: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification is bestowed by the USGBC based on a rating system that measures a building’s environmental impact. Projects earn LEED points based on items such as site selection, the management of the construction process, water efficiency, energy use, materials selection, indoor air quality, and educational impact.

“Achieving LEED certification by the USGBC was an intentional and important decision by our Board of Directors,” Berks Nature President Kim Murphy said. “We knew The Nature Place needed to inspire others in the community through demonstration projects, and we are proud to receive recognition as a LEED Gold building in Berks.”

Among the sustainable features you’ll find at The Nature Place:

  • 100% of the building’s energy use offset by wind power.
  • Over one third of the entire building is reclaimed and recycled materials, including wooden stair treads and carpet.
  • Exterior siding reclaimed from Pennsylvania mushroom farms, and stone recycled from New England barns.
  • Light-colored roofing that reflects rather than absorbs the sun’s rays.
  • Horizontal sun shades that act like visors on the windows, minimizing solar heat gain and glare inside the building.
  • State-of-the-art bird-strike resistant glass
  • Rain gardens to manage the building’s stormwater, a Monarch-Way Station & Pollinator Garden
  • Daylight sensor to automatically dim the lights in the building when the sun is shining.
  • Native plant demonstration, a bio filter septic system, an observation beehive and much, much more!

Since opening in 2017, “The Nature Place has already exemplified the concept of ‘Building as a Teaching Tool,’” said Architect Kate Scurlock, of Baltimore-based GWWO Architects.Early on in the design process, she added, Berks Nature identified LEED certification as an important goal for The Nature Place.

“After many discussions and careful tracking throughout design and construction, GWWO Architects is thrilled to have The Nature Place achieve LEED Gold,” Scurlock said. “The Gold certification is due to hard work and coordination by the design and construction teams, along with Berks Nature’s dedication to the conservation of the environment.”