Site Development to Protect Habitat & Maximize Open Space
The 6,000-square-foot, LEED(r) Gold C.E. Doolin Visitor Center is located on a tract of land once owned by AT&T. Building on a previously-disturbed part of the property converts this area back into usable built space while protecting the bulk of our 220 acres of forest habitat. The facility is designed to blend into the surrounding forest while its many green features serve to soften its impact on the surrounding ecosystem.
Low Environmental Impact Construction Materials
Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center is comprised of many local and recycled building materials. The dark wood siding on the building's exterior is Accoya, a sustainably-sourced, durable, pest-resistant softwood pine product. The center's interior contains low-volatile-emitting paints, fixtures made from rapidly renewable resources such as bamboo, and formaldehyde-free insulation. The pieces of concrete that form the wheel blocks in the parking lot and pathway edges were cut from existing concrete slabs, many present on site from the old AT&T facilities.
Daylighting and Views
Recent studies show that daylighting – using natural daylight for interior illumination where possible - promotes better health and physical development and reduces utility use. Many studies have suggested that there are multiple benefits to working in a naturally-lit environment, including decreased eyestrain, better productivity, and overall well-being. The center was designed for maximum daylighting and views to the exterior without internal heat gain from the bright Texas sun.
Permeable Paving/Stormwater Control
The surface of the parking lot is made from crushed recycled concrete, with minimal concrete-paved areas to accommodate handicapped-accessible parking and the fire lane. The center is built on piers, which provides the building with greater stability on the site's unstable soils and also preserves the hydrology, or flow of water, on the site.
Landscaping around the center features hardy plants native to North Texas. The area in front of the building is being restored to native Blackland Prairie that will provide a welcoming habitat for Painted Buntings and Eastern Bluebirds. Native plants require less water and therefore, the prairie does not require any irrigation.
Light Pollution Reduction
At night, Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center is hardly visible from F.M. 1382 due to shielded lighting. Shielded lights concentrate lighting where it is needed, usually down, where people are, while preventing unnecessary light pollution that can interfere with night sky views and interfere with nocturnally migrating birds' navigation.
The center utilizes multiple smaller, more residential-sized HVAC units, allowing for more efficient heating and cooling across different zones of the building. Windows open in virtually all of the rooms, so during favorable weather the building can be kept comfortable with fresh air. The energy-efficient lighting system features compact fluorescent bulbs controlled by timers, motion sensors that turn lights off after a period of inactivity in a room, and photocells that adjust the level of lighting based on ambient light in the room.