Old Woman Creek Visitors Center

2514 Cleveland Rd., East (U.S. 6)
Huron, Ohio

The visitors center at the Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve and State Nature Preserve in Huron, OH, houses a classroom, laboratories and exhibits about the natural estuary at the meeting of Old Woman Creek and Lake Erie. In 2003, green features were installed during a renovation overseen by Myers Associates Architects and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Engineering. Funding for the $1 million renovation came from ODNR Nature Works Bond Fund and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The renovation added 2,000 square feet to the existing visitors center and added four beds to an existing dormitory. Brochures, tours, education programs and an exhibit on the green features have made the public aware of the green renovation. Building users have noticed improved air circulation, heating and cooling efficiency, and have enjoyed the natural daylighting. The center has three full-time staff members, seven part-time staff members, 10-15 visiting researchers, and approximately 30,000 public visitors each year. The renovation included green features in order to demonstrate sustainable design practices and products and to showcase NOAA/ODNR efforts to promote sustainable coastal communities.

Sustainable Sites

  • Native plant landscaping
  • Bike racks
  • Clay pavers replaced concrete sidewalks
  • One-third of existing asphalt pavement removed and replaced with "Grasspave," a system which uses grass over a flexible base and is capable of supporting heavy traffic. Grasspave requires less maintenance than asphalt and absorbs and filters storm water.
  • "Gravelpave" used for a stable, low maintenance gravel surface around dormitory

Water Efficiency

  • Low-flow facilities in bathrooms
  • Waterless urinals
  • Paved parking area sloped to swales (a broad shallow channel with dense vegetation) to catch and filter storm water
  • Motion sensors to control faucets

Energy and Atmosphere

  • Geothermal heating and cooling
  • Ceiling fans circulate warm air in winter
  • Clerestory windows allow heat to escape in the summer
  • Auxiliary solar hot water heating
  • Compact florescent light bulbs
  • Energy Star approved appliances
  • Motion sensor hand dryers and lighting fixtures

Materials and Resources

  • Recycled wallboard
  • Recycled organic asphalt shingles, which were also locally produced
  • Recycled vinyl siding
  • Ceramic tiles made of 55-75% recycled materials
  • Nails from recycled metals
  • Recyclable carpeting
  • Cellulose insulation made from recycled newsprint
  • Wallpaper made from 50-70% recycled phone books
  • Cork flooring made from a renewable resource
  • Sustainable lumber for ceiling decks
  • Recycling procedure implemented in visitors center
  • Durable copper roofing

Indoor Environmental Quality

  • Low volatile organic compound emitting paints and carpeting
  • Carbon monoxide monitoring system
  • Operable windows
  • Smoking banned inside the visitors center

Old Woman Creek website


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EcoCity Cleveland
3500 Lorain Avenue, Suite 301, Cleveland OH 44113
Cuyahoga Bioregion
(216) 961-5020
Copyright 2002-2003



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