Columbia's James & Anne Robinson Nature Center is a certified "green" attraction, County Executive Ken Ulman and the Department of Recreation & Parks announced Friday.
The center, which opened in September 2011, received the "Maryland Green Travel Attraction Partner" designation from the Maryland Office of Tourism based on its energy-efficient operations and educational outreach focused on sustainability.
"This designation reaffirms what our community has known all along – that Howard County is not only a great place to live, work and play, but that our commitment to strengthening our quality of life through public amenities and other investments has made us a premiere destination in Maryland," said Ulman said in a statement.
The nature center, which will be celebrating its second birthday with special events planned for this weekend, is a certified LEED platinum building, with a geothermal cooling and heating system, green roof and solar panels, which help reduce the center's energy use by 30 percent.
According to the county, the center's solar panels have so far have created enough electricity to save 3,632 gallons of gasoline and offset more than 165,475 pounds of carbon dioxide, for a savings of $18,000. The center also saves 50 percent more water than similar buildings of its size.