Desert Living Center & Gardens at the Springs Preserve

Public Green Building Project and Landscape/Hardscape Project

The Desert Living Center is an interactive-based public outreach and applied research facility designed to promote sustainable living within the Mojave

Desert. The DLC buildings are the first LEED platinum structures in Nevada. With five main buildings and a garden, the DLC is  designed to be “of the desert” rather than merely “in the desert.”

Light-colored roofing and paving materials reduce heat islands, while over 40 acres of Mojave Desert ecosystems and 20 acres of wetlands have been restored on-site. All black and gray water on-site is treated and reused, while mechanical systems, free of HCFC’s and Halons, were designed to achieve up to a 50% reduction in energy use.

Locally sourced building materials were utilized, and recycling collection areas are located throughout the site.

All indoor materials and coatings meet VOC limits to enhance the indoor environmental quality, while the buildings are designed to educate the community about sustainable design. The DLC honors the historical and cultural precedent of sustainability principles

through the research of other habitats. The Anasazi Indians built structures based on solar orientation and used thickened walls as thermal mass to reduce heating and cooling needs. The DLC features buildings that use the earth as a thermal insulator by integrating the buildings into the land, with the design carrying above-ground where the mass, thickness of walls, and depth of openings assist in protecting heat gain and loss.

The botanical gardens and landscaping are integral to the educational purpose of the DLC. Over 1,200 species of plantings demonstrate sustainable concepts to the public while simultaneously providing a beautiful backdrop for the Preserve. An Asian-themed garden aswell as an Enabling Garden, which demonstrates options for the physically challenged, are also included in the DLC. Artificial wetlands are included as part of an engineered water treatment system, and garden paths include solar lighting. Trails feature areas withrestored vegetation showcasing thriving Mojave species such as cottonwood, willow, mesquite and acacia trees.

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