Independence and self-sufficiency were maxims for the facility's design and construction.
Rooftop solar panels and wind turbines generate all power for the center, and even return surplus clean, renewable energy back to the grid. The building is curved and positioned to maximize natural sunlight and catch Chesapeake Bay breezes. Ultra-tight walls, windows, and doors, extra insulation, and energy efficiencies further enhance the center's energy independence.
The center uses rainwater for all its water needs, including drinking water. It is believed to be the first commercial-scale building in the continental United States to do so. Any excess rain water and "gray water" flow into nearby rain gardens of native grasses, flowers, and shrubs. Even the center's bathrooms use waterless toilets that compost waste in waterproof bins until the odorless, harmless compost can be spread on the grounds.
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