How is Indian Creek going green? Let us count the ways

  • Photo

Indian Creek Nature Center’s soon-to-be-completed headquarters, dubbed the ‘Amazing Space,’ has dozens of sustainable features built in.

It’s all part of an effort to create the only building in Iowa — and the only nature center in the world — certified under the International Living Future Institute’s Living Building Challenge.

Read the full story: New Indian Creek Nature Center ‘Amazing Space’ is a green machine


Permeable pavers, separated by pebbles, are designed to capture rainwater and snow melt, creating mini water-holding tanks instead of the water running off into the creek or evaporating. The water transfers through layers of rock and landscaping fabric, filtering out pollutants.



Special windows are being installed in a room overlooking a rain garden that often attracts birds. The windows have Ornilux Bird Protection Glass that, from the outside, looks like spiderwebs. The treatment is less visible to the human eye; this photograph has been toned to enhance it. The spiderweb glass should prevent birds from flying into the windows.



The interior of the nature center features wood salvaged from a barn in Marion and limestone from Weber Stone Co. in Anamosa. “By sourcing our stone locally, we reduced carbon emissions from transporting the materials to the site,” said Lindsey Flannery, business development coordinator at Indian Creek.



With a goal of eliminating runoff, the nature center’s gutter and downspout system is to connect to a water collection basin. Also in this photo, one can see the HardiePlank siding used on the exterior of the building. The siding is made from cement, giving it a longer life expectancy than wood or vinyl siding.



Jean Wiedenheft, land stewardship director at the nature center, holds EcoBatt insulation made from sand and recycled glass. The manufacturing process did not involve using formaldehyde or other chemicals that go into traditional insulation. The non-toxic insulation is used throughout the building.



Millwrights from Brecke Mechanical Contractors install solar panels. The nature center is to be equipped with hundreds of such panels — on the ground and on the roof — capable of producing 105 kilowatts of energy — enough to power the entire building and, perhaps, produce excess power as well, which would make the nature center a net positive facility.



The nature center is designed to let in a maximum amount of natural light and light sensors are to help regulate any additional lighting needs. Noise-controlling Tectum ceiling panels, shown here in the auditorium, are made using Wisconsin aspen wood fibers.



Small doors at the nature center are designed to allow bees to enter enclosed educational hives.

Read the full story: New Indian Creek Nature Center ‘Amazing Space’ is a green machine

Like what you're reading?

We make it easy to stay connected:

to our email newsletters
Download our free apps

Give us feedback

Have you found an error or omission in our reporting? Tell us here.
Do you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.