Fort project recognized

TICONDEROGA - The United States Green Building Council has recently granted Fort Ticonderoga's Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center at Fort Ticonderoga Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.

The certification is a national accreditation honor given to buildings that have been rated as "green" for their efforts to minimize negative impacts on the environment, and that actually make a positive contribution through their structure and design.

Beth Hill, executive director, said "In keeping with the fort's long tradition of stewardship and conservation we were committed to constructing a 'green building' within our 18th century fortification. The Mars Education Center clearly reflects our commitment to responsible environmental stewardship."

The LEED certification is awarded after the successful completion of a two-year evaluation based on environmental factors including reduced site disturbance, energy efficient lighting, water conserving plumbing fixtures, and indoor air quality management.

According to Hill, "The biodiversity and natural significance of the Fort Ticonderoga peninsula were just as important to the armies who occupied the site more than 250 years ago as they are today. We are dedicated to programs rooted in all aspects of Fort Ticonderoga's history and its relevance to today's issues. By educating our visitors on these matters in a space that clearly reflects our commitment to responsible environmental stewardship, we hope to emphasize the importance of preserving and respecting the natural world for future generations."

According to Andrew Wright, building architect, "The feature with the largest reduction in energy use is the geo-thermal heating and cooling system. Taking advantage of the energy in water from three deep wells, the heating and cooling needs of the entire building is met through sophisticated heat pumps."

The design and construction team for the Mars Education Center was led by Tonetti Associates Architects and Breadloaf Corporation with oversight of the fort staff.

The building, constructed on the site of the original French magazin du Roi, is a reflection of the warehouse that preceded it. The interior is a 21st century Mars Education Center providing visitors with new opportunities to understand the fort's history and includes two classrooms, offices for education and interpretive staff, the Great Room which accommodates 200 guests, and a state-of-the-art exhibition space. It opened in 2008 with the support of Forrest and Deborah Mars.

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