Ribbon Cutting: Net Zero Green Building

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Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III will bring remarks during the ribbon cutting ceremony for completion of phase I for the Potomac Watershed Study Center.


The Alice Ferguson Foundation (AFF) is celebrating the completion of the first phase of construction for the Potomac Watershed Study Center, which includes the grand opening of the Grass Day-Use Building and Boardwalk and Observations Stations. The Study Center and its high-performance, net-positive facilitates will support AFF’s ability to educate students and teachers as well as inspire future innovation.

Construction for the first phase of the $17 million Study Center broke ground on April 25, 2013. Prince George’s County contributed $3.45 million to the project. Soon-to-be-built facilities at the Study Center include the Moss Overnight Lodge and Sleeping Cabins.

The Potomac Watershed Study Center is located on the AFF’s Hard Bargain Farm in Accokeek, Maryland.


The Alice Ferguson Foundation’s new Potomac Watershed Study Center is designed to meet the Living Building Challenge© – a set of standards for environmentally responsible building design, construction, operation and maintenance that surpass LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. The high performance net-positive energy, net-positive water and carbon neutral education facilities and outdoor spaces that encompass the Potomac Watershed Study Center will have no negative impact on the surrounding environment and meet the seven requirements of the Living Building Challenge, including:

  • Restoring a healthy local ecosystem;
  • Creating all its energy from solar power;
  • Supporting a just, equitable world;
  • Celebrating beauty, inspiring transformative change through design;
  • Sourcing all its water from rainfall;
  • Choosing non-toxic materials; and
  • Maximizing physical and psychological health of guests.

The center will use geothermal and solar energy for heating and cooling, treat waste water and storm water on site and reuse grey water for landscape irrigation.


The Grass Day-Use Building also known as a “living” building is one of eight certified living buildings in the world, and is a significant investment in green infrastructure and manufacturing in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Through advance environmental and construction design, the Center utilizes geothermal and solar energy for heating and cooling, treat waste water and stormwater on site, and refuse gray water for landscape irrigation.

Construction and building products are formaldehyde-free. Additional features include the following:

  • Low voltage LED interior and site lighting;
  • Formaldehyde-free conduit electrical wiring;
  • Nutrient-recycling toilets;
  • 100 cubic-yards of formaldehyde-free concrete;
  • 8 kW rooftop solar system;
  • 100% wood products certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council;
  • 3,800 square feet of cement fiber siding;
  • 20 geothermal wells, each 450-feet deep; and
  • Native plants included in area landscaping.


The Alice Ferguson Foundation was established in 1954 as a non-profit organization chartered in the State of Maryland. The Alice Ferguson Foundation’s educational programs unite students, educators, park rangers, communities, regional organizations and government agencies throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area to promote the environmental sustainability of the Potomac River watershed.

The Alice Ferguson Foundation’s mission is to connect people to the natural world, sustainable agricultural practices and the cultural heritage of their local watershed through education, stewardship and advocacy. For more than 50 years, the Alice Ferguson Foundation has provided the opportunity for hands-on, active and direct experience outdoor environmental and agricultural education to hundreds of thousands of elementary school children from Washington, D.C. and the nearby suburbs of Maryland and Virginia

Today the Alice Ferguson Foundation annually serves 4,000 elementary school students in one-and-two-day (overnight) environmental and agricultural programs onsite; serves an additional 6,000 middle and high school students in National and State parks throughout the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area; trains hundreds of teachers in outdoor environmental curricula; and leads the Trash Free Potomac Watershed Initiative, a community-wide movement in trash education and reduction through volunteer cleanups, a Trash Summit, and policy, regulation and market-based solutions to the trash issue.


Fri, Oct 2, 2015 @ 10:00 am - 12:30 pm


Alice Ferguson Foundation’s Hard Bargain Farm Environment Center Net Zero Green Building
2001 Bryan Point Road
Accokeek , 20607

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