Olbrich Botanical Gardens celebrates opening of learning center, greenhouses
The Learning Center will use 67% less energy than a building built to minimum code standards.
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Community members gathered Saturday morning to celebrate the grand opening of the Frautschi Family Learning Center and greenhouses at Olbrich Botanical Gardens.
According to Olbrich Gardens, the 8,500-square-foot Learning Center is the first dedicated educational space in Olbrich’s history. Educational offerings, including school programs, summer writing camps and youth/family programs will be offered in the classrooms.
“It is incredibly important that we have places where young people can come and learn about the natural world,” Mayor Rhodes-Conway, who attended the opening, said. “It’s so important that we have spaces where we can do that educational work that will I hope not actually feel like learning or school, but rather just feel like fun and wonder.”
The Garden’s 25-year-old greenhouses are also being replaced by new greenhouses that will allow for more efficient use of space, and will be used to grow an increasing number of plants grown from seed.
The Learning Center will use 67% less energy than a building built to minimum code standards, and will include the following features:
• 9 kW photovoltaic solar panels on the roof, which provide approximately 20% of the Learning Center’s electric use.
• In-floor heating and cooling on the first floor, requiring an air handling system that maintains tight control of humidity levels in the space.
• Large windows for daylighting and views to the surrounding gardens.
• Daylight sensors that automatically dim LED lighting.
• Occupancy and vacancy sensors for lighting and heating control.
• LED lighting throughout the building that greatly reduces electricity use and heating load.
• A high performance building envelope that significantly reduces air infiltration.
In addition to speaker remarks and a ribbon cutting, the celebration featured an open house in the new facilities where guests had the opportunity to chat with Olbrich staff, participate in a take-home potting activity and learn about the building’s sustainable features among other activities.
According to an Olbrich Gardens Facebook post, Bolz Conservatory admission is free all day today as a thank you for all of the community support they received for the project.
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