The Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach Celebrates Its Grand 'Green' Opening

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Irvine-based LPA, Inc. announces the design of a new LEED platinum facility - the first in Orange County.

The new building and learning center at the Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach, CA.

We integrated sustainability into every aspect of this building

The Environmental Nature Center (ENC) in Newport Beach takes center stage this spring, with the opening of their highly anticipated building and learning center.

Designed by the seasoned sustainability experts at LPA, Inc. , the ENC is on track to become the first LEED Platinum building in Orange County, pending approval from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The sustainable strategies implemented by LPA will potentially save the ENC over $20,000 on an annual basis.

Set within the suburbs of Orange County, the ENC provides hands on education with nature and demonstrates indigenous California vegetation and habitats. The new facility adds an additional educational tool that will showcase smart green design.

"The sustainable elements that make up this learning center will demonstrate to students and visitors that green design is the wave of the future," said Bo Glover, Executive Director of the ENC. "LPA understood that we were in need of a building to complement our commitment to natural science education."

The 9,000-square-foot facility is located on a 3.5-acre site at 1601 16th Street in Newport Beach, CA. It provides 16,000 students the opportunity to study local ecology in 15 on-site, native Southern California plant communities.

LPA, Inc., one of the largest architectural, planning, landscape, engineer and interior design firms in California, developed the facility for the ENC together with Griffin Structures , Inc., which provided program management. By using a holistic, integrated design approach, where architects and engineers work together from the beginning of a project through its completion, LPA was able to offer a cohesive vision for a building that was unified and sustainable from the ground up.

"We integrated sustainability into every aspect of this building," comments Rick D'Amato, design principal at LPA, Inc. "The learning center educates visitors about the benefits of environmentally-conscious design through the application of new technologies. These include powering the building from renewable resources such as solar panels and maintaining the health of the ENC staff and visitors through the implementation of green design strategies which provide a healthier indoor environment."

Sustainable features at the ENC include: optimized building orientation; bicycle storage and shower facilities; drought tolerant, indigenous landscape; fixtures that promote water conservation - such as waterless urinals and low-flow faucets; efficient storm water management and daylight harvesting.

Photovoltaic roof panels convert light into power and provide for 100 percent of the building's power needs making the ENC a "net zero" building, a new model for sustainability.

Guests enjoy natural ventilation without the use of heating and/or air conditioning, dimming systems and occupancy sensors, an aggressive Sustainable Education program, heat island reduction, and green housekeeping techniques and products.

The extensive use of recycled and recyclable materials includes: insulation made of recycled blue jeans; natural linoleum for countertops - 100% organic and recyclable; composite wood for exterior skin made from saw dust and natural resin; pressed organic materials for millwork and shelving units; natural concrete; carpet tiles with high recycled content and recycled fabrics/finishes for furnishings and work stations.

LPA's principal in charge of the project is Jim Wirick, with Rick D'Amato serving as design principal and Dave Duff as project manager. The scope of LPA services involved planning, design, programming, architecture, landscape and interior design services. Lake Forest, CA-based Culp & Tanner served as the structural engineer. Griffin Structures served as the program manager, with Gentosi Builders acting as the general contractor.

The Grand Green Opening for the ENC is Saturday, June 14, 2008 at 6 p.m. Invite only. To be included on the Media Entrance List, please RSVP to Rochelle Veturis at (949) 701-4148 or e-mail rveturis @

About the Environmental Nature Center
For over 30 years, the Environmental Nature Center (ENC), a non-profit 501 (c)-3 public benefit corporation, has been serving over 16,000 local students. The ENC is recognized as a leader in science and social science education, providing opportunities for increasing the community's knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the natural world. For additional information, visit They are located at 1601 16th Street, Newport Beach, CA.

About Griffin Structures, Inc.
Griffin Structures, Inc. provides program management, owner representation, construction management, and program management "at risk." For more information about Griffin Structures, call (949) 497-9000 or visit

About LPA, Inc.
With offices in Irvine and Roseville, CA, LPA, Inc. is one of the largest multi-disciplinary organizations in California, providing professional services in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, land planning, urban development and interior design. Since its establishment in 1965, LPA has been known for its design solutions and strong project management skills. With over 60 percent of its staff holding LEED® accreditations, the firm and its principals have been repeatedly recognized for their leadership in providing innovative solutions in all aspects of the built environment. LPA has also received more than 300 awards for design excellence.

A leading firm with the largest number of LEED-certified projects in the state, LPA has designed a wide variety of sustainable facilities, including K-12 schools, higher education buildings, office buildings, corporate campuses, libraries and police stations. Prominent clients include Blizzard Entertainment, the Cities of Anaheim, Mission Viejo and Orange, Disney, E*Trade Financial, Ford, Surfrider Foundation, The Irvine Company, Toyota, Verizon Wireless, United States Dept. of Defense, University of California (Davis, Irvine, and Los Angeles), Urban Decay, Volcom and Wal-Mart. For additional information about LPA, visit

Rochelle Veturis        
LPA, Inc.
(949) 701-4148
rveturis @


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