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Pine Bush gets gold rating for going green

After the environmentally frugal deconstruction of the bank, the center continued its go-green approach in building the new facility.

"It took something as large and significant as solar panels, and something as small as a parking space, or bicycle racks," said Venuti.

The solar panels located outside the building provide power to the building, and any additional energy that is need is bought from a wind farm. In an effort to encourage environmentally friendly transportation, the parking lot outside the building has the closest spaces reserved for car poolers, and people driving low emission vehicles.

The center also installed a new air conditioning system, called a multistack system, that saves energy by only using as many of its four motors that are needed at a given time.

"The old system was all or nothingthis system will give you increments of 25 percent," said Venuti. To date, the system has logged 54 hours of all four motors operating, while it logged 3043 hours of only one motor operating.

Among the most interesting environmentally friendly additions to the facility are the bathroom facilities that, according to Venuti, used only one third of a cup of water per flush.

The toilets operate using mostly gravity to send the waste into a tank beneath the surface of the ground. Once there, the waste is separated into liquids and solids, and the solid waste is left to decompose over the course of five years.

Venuti said the compost can be used for horticulture, and landscaping, but not for food crops. He also said where you live depends on whether the compost can be used or not, and New York State regulations would currently not allow the utilization of the compost.

While not usable, he said the composting of waste, and the many other additions to the facility are to demonstrate what is possible. He said "The Discovery Center provides options for people to think about, to look at and see what is achievable."

He also said from here on the goal of the center will be to maintain its go-green environment. "Once you get gold level of LEED certification you have to maintain it, that would be the minimum," he said.

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