04 November 2010

Adding Bird Safety to FWS Refuge Buildings

Parker River Refuge building. Both pictures courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Two buildings constructed for the Fish and Wildlife Service were recent recipients of a 2010 Federal Energy and Water Management Award award in recognition for their "innovative, sustainable designs."

The Parker River Refuge Visitor Center and Administrative Headquarters facility in Massachusetts, constructed in 2003, was recognized as a "model of sustainable design, complete with passive solar techniques, super-insulation of the building envelope, high-efficiency lighting, and a geothermal open loop ground source heat pump that reduces energy use by 41 percent as compared to a traditional office building," according to a Fish and Wildlife Service press release.

Additional changes made at the building have also made it more bird-friendly.

There was a lot of glass on one side of the building, and since the glass was installed before any exhibits, there were bird strikes occurring, said Kyla Hastie, with the FWS northeast region external affairs office.

As silhouettes of plant species were placed on the windows, as part of the building's exhibits, bird strikes were reduced to almost nothing, Hastie said. Refuge staff also subsequently added a "film to the windows - the primary purpose was to save energy and cut down on solar build up - but it also seems to have reduced bird strikes."

Inland Northwest NWR complex building.

At the Inland Northwest National Wildlife Refuge Complex at Cheney, Washington, a new headquarters and visitors center "incorporates numerous energy-saving strategies, including super-insulation, a cool roof, energy-efficient LED lighting with occupancy sensors, triple-paned low-emissivity windows, optimal building orientation, and local stone and concrete to enhance thermal mass and help maintain comfortable temperatures. The main building uses a 14.35-ton geothermal heat pump with an overhead electric forced-air system for heating and cooling, a 4.9- kilowatt grid-tied solar photovoltaic array for electricity and a flat-plate roof-mounted solar collector system for hot water."

"The work of national wildlife refuges is essential not only in protecting wildlife habitat, but also in leading by example in energy efficiency," said Acting Service Director Rowan Gould. "Parker River National Wildlife Refuge and Inland Northwest National Wildlife Refuge Complex are prime examples of how we intend to reach our goal by 2020."

This award is given by the Department of Energy to recognize individuals, groups and agencies for their outstanding contributions in the areas of energy efficiency, water conservation and the use of advanced and renewable energy technologies at federal facilities."