aviaryThe National Aviary’s $17.5 million expansion and renovation project has been awarded a Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for green design by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

The project, designed by SPRINGBOARD Design, was completed in September 2010 and included construction of the Helen M. Schmidt FliteZone™ Theater, an indoor space for presenting free-flight bird shows, films and educational programming; the addition of a rooftop Sky Deck for bird of prey lure-flying demonstrations and releases; a café; classrooms; new facades; new exhibits; and a new grand entrance and lobby space.  Mascaro Construction Company managed the renovation and new construction.

Green design highlights include use of light colored roofing material to reflect rather than absorb sunlight and heat; highly efficient mechanical HVAC systems and plumbing fixtures ; extensive use of recycled and recyclable materials; lighting controls and use of motion detection to reduce energy usage in theater and classroom spaces, as well as other locations; a green roof to reduce runoff ; and use of  locally sourced materials, as well as low and/or no VOC paints, water-based adhesives, and carpets that do not outgas.

“We are delighted to receive official LEED Silver designation recognizing the high standards of sustainable design and construction that resulted in the beautiful new spaces being enjoyed by our visitors and our birds,” says National Aviary Executive Director Patrick Mangus.  “Committing to the ambitious criteria for energy efficient design while at the same time creating new spaces that were not only be aesthetically beautiful, but also functional and healthy for both people and birds was a significant challenge that was met due to the design excellence of Springboard Design, and the professionalism and quality work conducted by Mascaro Construction. Our birds remained on exhibit through every stage of the project, and not one was injured or stressed during the process. Builders and designers worked closely with our professional staff of keepers and trainers to insure that a safe, healthy environment for our birds was maintained, and that all materials were not only green, but also met the highest standards of MSDS for bird health.”

The National Aviary expansion also employed extensive use of bird-friendly fritted glass in its soaring new entrance and lobby. Marked with a barely visible dot pattern, fritted glass admits light while appearing opaque enough from the exterior for birds to recognize the glass as a surface, not a transparent space.

“Millions of birds die each year from collisions with glass windows, lobbies and entrance spaces because flying birds read windows as small as 12 inches in size as an open void, and will attempt to fly through,” says Mangus. “Several cities, including Toronto and Chicago, are beginning to set bird-friendly design standards, and the National Aviary project will serve as a model for future efforts.”

(Courtesy The National Aviary)