The 15,000-square-foot Brightwater Center, which opened in 2011 to educate visitors about the environmental mission of the adjacent Brightwater Treatment Plant, puts the building’s sustainable features to work as a teaching tool.
The facility functions on renewable resources generated during the wastewater treatment process, harnessing methane for building heat and reclaimed water for non-drinking purposes such as toilet flushing and landscaping irrigation. Green energy is also supplied by the solar panels that generate hot water for sinks and provide electricity for computers and equipment.
Other sustainable features include skylights to reduce artificial lighting, natural ventilation to maintain building comfort without air conditioning, and furnishings made from recycled materials.
The Brightwater Center features a community center and exhibit hall as well as classrooms and laboratory space suitable for students from grade school through college. The building is situated on a 70 acre site that transformed underused, environmentally damaged land into public open space that features three miles of trails, restored salmon habitat and forested wetlands, daylighted creeks and a natural stormwater system comprised of plants and swales. http://www.kingcounty.gov/brightwatercenter.