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PR- 346-07
September 27, 2007


New Facility is First in New York City to Qualify for the Highest National Standard of Sustainability

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today unveiled the Queens Botanical Garden's (QBG) new Visitor & Administration Center, the first new building in the City to be eligible to receive a LEED rating of platinum, signifying that the building has met the highest possible standards for sustainable, ecologically conscious architecture. The facility, the centerpiece of a $24 million capital improvement program to which the City contributed $22 million, features a "green roof," solar panels and an innovative wastewater system. The Mayor was joined by Cultural Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Kate D. Levin, Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner David J. Burney, AIA, Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall, Councilmember Leroy G. Comrie, Councilmember John C. Liu, QBG Executive Director Susan Lacerte, and Board Chair Frank Macchio.
"With this new facility, the Queens Botanical Garden builds on its wonderful history by becoming a leader in our efforts to make New York City the first great, sustainable city of the 21st century," said Mayor Bloomberg. "And with Local Law 86, which I signed in 2005, exciting green projects like the new Visitor and Administration Center will become the rule for new city-constructed buildings, not the exception."

"Queens Botanical Garden serves one of the City's most diverse boroughs with programming that fosters and highlights the best of environmental stewardship," said Commissioner Levin. "This new facility positions QBG as one of our City's many cultural organizations that are leading the way in embracing innovative architecture."

Designed by New York-based BKSK Architects, the 15,830 sq. ft building features several noteworthy innovations, including: 

  • A planted "green roof" that absorbs rainwater, prevents stormwater runoff, insulates the building interior and reduces urban heat island effect.

  • Photovoltaic panels on the building's roof that capture the sun's energy and provide approximately 20% of the building's electricity; a two-story brise-soleil also helps to shade the interior, thus reducing fossil fuel consumption. 

  • Sloped roofs that channel rainwater toward a wetland area, where the water is naturally cleansed by native plants, then rechanneled to the fountain in the Entry Plaza.

In addition to being a model for sustainable design, the facility accommodates a reception area, auditorium, garden store, gallery space, meeting rooms and administrative offices.

The new Center is a pilot project of the DDC's High Performance Building program and the winner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and the United States Environmental Protection Agency's first Green Building Design Award in 2004.
"New Yorkers now have a building that sets a new standard for the green building movement that is an integral part of Mayor Bloomberg's vision for sustainable design," said Commissioner Burney. "This building uses the sun's energy with photovoltaic panels, collects and reuses rainwater and reaches into the earth to temper the air with geothermal energy. Much of what we see successfully demonstrates the possibilities and practicalities of an ecological and environmental design sensibility which will be enjoyed by current and future generations."

"I am happy to be here today to support this environmentally friendly 'green' building that will not only provide office space and services, but capture the sun's energy, recapture rain water and make use of natural ventilation and other environmental technologies," said Borough President Marshall. "My office has allocated more than $11 million to this project that will set an example for other buildings to follow. I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg and all our partners in government for their support in helping the Queens Botanical Garden to grow in an ever greener New York City."
The Garden's capital improvement program, called Sustainable Landscapes and Building Project, is the first phase of a larger Master Plan. The project includes the Center, a Horticulture/Maintenance Building completed in 2006, and a green parking lot under construction.

"With the inauguration of our revolutionary Visitor & Administration Center, Queens Botanical Garden is at the forefront of the green building movement," said Executive Director Lacerte. "This building is chock full of technologies that can be used right now to mitigate global climate change. We deeply appreciate New York City's leadership role in the public/private partnership that made this building possible."
"As a builder, I recognize the challenging new standard the Visitor & Administration Center sets for green buildings, said Chairman Macchio. "I am proud to have contributed to its construction. But as the father of a small child, I'm even prouder that the Visitor & Administration Center will help make the world my son inherits a better place to live in."


John Gallagher/Matthew Kelly   (212) 788-2958

Teresa Gonzalez   (Cultural Affairs)
(212) 513-9322

Matthew Monahan   (Design and Construction)
(718) 391-1641

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