See Sustainability on the Street with Downtown Walking Tour

Sustainable Raleigh Spotlight Feature

News posted Oct. 07, 2016 - 6:00 am
Green Square Complex

October is a great time to go for a stroll. Get in your Sunday “steps” while discussing the sustainability of downtown Raleigh!

Join the Raleigh Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Commission (BPAC) Sunday, October 16 at 1 p.m. to learn about some of the reasons Raleigh is recognized as a 4-STAR Community for national excellence in sustainability.

The 2-mile Walktober tour will start at the Sir Walter Raleigh statue outside the Raleigh Convention Center, circling north to the Nature Research Center, and returning to the Convention Center.

Steve Shuster, FAIA of Clearscapes and the Raleigh Convention Center staff will be kicking off the afternoon with a 15-20 minute tour highlighting the sustainability features of the LEED Silver Certified Raleigh Convention Center. This center was built with sustainability in mind, starting at the bottom with selection of the site to the materials chosen, continuing all the way to the top with consideration for resource efficiency to green cleaning practices and water efficient landscaping. A 500kW solar array on the roof is one of the largest convention center solar arrays in the nation, covering approximately 60 percent of the roof. An outstanding feature is the beautiful — and functional — CREE Shimmer Wall overlooking McDowell Street.

The Downtown Walking Tour continues on a route created by the City of Raleigh’s Office of Sustainability. The tour highlights the three spheres of sustainability: Economic Strength, Environmental Stewardship and Social Equity. In addition to the Raleigh Convention Center, the tour spotlights a variety of sustainable concepts such as protecting the natural environment, employing local labor and local materials, repurposed architecture and construction, access to health and nutrition, the use of greenways and open spaces, and renewable energy. Along the way, you will learn about some of the fabulous architecture, public spaces and sustainable features of the city while discussing urban heat gain, stormwater runoff, and green roof strategies.

About midway, the tour will make a stop at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences Nature Research Center to visit the rooftop garden. An expansion of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, the Nature Research Center is one of two state buildings included in the Green Square Complex. The 250,000-square-foot complex encompasses two state buildings and two bridges on two city blocks. (You may have driven under one of these bridges on McDowell or Salisbury Streets.) The second building is the DEQ Building, headquarters for the Department of Environmental Quality. Both buildings incorporate many sustainable features and elements, and the principles of green building and sustainable design positioned the project for LEED Gold certification.

After you make your way back to the Raleigh Convention Center — by way of stops at the Raleigh Municipal Building, Nash Square, the new Wake County Justice Center, Poole’s Diner and Red Hat Amphitheater — take some extra time to absorb more of downtown’s fun atmosphere by exploring one of the many great restaurants or retail shops.

This Sustainable Raleigh Spotlight is one in a series of City of Raleigh sustainability stories.

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