The 3,100-acre Albany Pine Bush Preserve is a significant remnant of inland pine barrens ecosystem and is home to a unique diversity of plants and animals. In 1988 the New York State Legislature established the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission to protect and manage the endangered natural communities of the preserve for ecological, recreational, and educational benefits.
The Discovery Center is a welcome gateway and interpretive facility whose purpose is to educate the public about the preserve, its unique natural resources, and environmental role. ENVISION Architects’ design for the adaptive reuse of a 26,000 square foot former bank building accommodates interpretive exhibits, meeting spaces, and staff offices. Site improvements include native landscape restoration, interpretive trails and outdoor exhibits.
ENVISION Architects achieved LEED Gold certification through successful integration of sustainable strategies including 48% reduction in water usage. The trailhead restroom pavilion uses a Clivus Multrum composting toilet system that demonstrates alternatives to conventional sewer and septic systems. Due to jurisdictional requirements, liquid and solid waste material are removed off-site on a 2-4 year basis via septic removal service. Sustainable design features employed throughout the project, including the composting toilet system, are featured as interpretive exhibits to educate and inspire visitors.
First commercial composting toilet application in local jurisdiction
One commercial composter and two Foam-flush toilets accommodates 65,000 uses per year
Saves nearly 100,000 gallons of water annually