Visitor Center at Blue Plains

Expansive view of blue plains from second floor
Expansive view of Blue Plains
from second floor

DC Water's Visitor Center at Blue Plains opened in March 2014. The 30,000 square-foot environmentally friendly building is the first stop for the more than 1,000 visitors who tour the plant each year. It houses an educational classroom, Security, the Office of External Affairs' Community Outreach team and a new warehouse. The modern design incorporates recycled materials, plant life and a large wall display that explains water and wastewater collection and treatment processes.

The front entrance of the new building
The front entrance of the new building

"DC Water built this new building to LEED Silver certification standards," said General Manager Hawkins. "It serves as a model for stormwater runoff reduction and energy efficiency."

For runoff reduction, the green roof will drain into vegetative swales along the back of the building, where it will be treated by plant life selected for this purpose. Pervious pavement is also used to reduce runoff where practical. The resurfaced parking lot incorporates new landscaping islands and planting strips to reduce the heat island effect. Any runoff from the parking lot is directed to existing storm drains that served the previous parking lot.

For energy efficiency, multiple skylights take advantage of natural daylight and supplement high efficiency LED lighting fixtures while a solar array roof above the guardhouse aims to save on electricity. Low flow plumbing fixtures also conserve water.

Additional green features:

Security greets visitors at the new front desk
Security greets visitors
at the new front desk
  • Building materials with high recycled and recyclable content are used, including concrete, masonry, gypsum board, ceramic tile, ceiling tiles, carpet, etc.
  • All wood products used on the project are made from FSC Certified lumber.
  • Construction waste management: 88.3% of waste diverted from landfills
  • Indoor air quality management
  • Recycled content of the composite and metal panels
  • Sustainable furniture
  • Solatube skylights
  • Bicycle storage and changing rooms to accommodate bicycle commuters

The warehouse features lift system and wire rack system
The warehouse features
lift system and wire rack system
Classroom facilities are used for safety briefings, tour orientations and environmental education.
Classroom facilities are used
for safety briefings,
tour orientations and
environmental education. m
Educational wall display describes water treatment process and resource recovery from wasterwater
Educational wall display
describes water treatment
process and resource
recovery from wastewater

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