Chesapeake Bay Foundations
For 35 years, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) has worked hard to protect and restore the damaged ecosystems of the largest estuary in North America. Their latest effort to combat air and water pollution is manifest in their new home, the Philip Merrill Environmental Center near Annapolis, Maryland.
Wanting to "tread lightly on the land" and to set an example for others, the foundation's leaders and architects sought to make the new headquarters building as "green" as possible. The result is a low-resource-consuming, minimally polluting facility.
Another result is the first-ever "platinum" rating from the U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Environmental Engineering Design (LEED) program. The LEED rating system provides direction and definition for energy conservation and sustainable design. The center may well be the nation's greenest office building.
The 32,000-square foot (3000-square-meter) building, named in honor of CBF trustee and long-time supporter Philip Merrill, is part of a 31-acre (12.5-hectare) parcel of land that will serve as an environmental education and training center for students and volunteers.
The building was designed by the Washington D.C. office of the SmithGroup, with LEED consulting from Annapolis architect Janet Harrison.
The center opened in late 2000 to widespread acclaim. In recognition of Earth Day 2001, it was selected as one of the year's top ten examples of environmentally responsible design by the American Institute of Architects' Committee on the Environment.