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Green Building

As part of our commitment to sustainable landscape practices and resource conservation, our Welcome Center was designed and built to minimize energy use and material waste, and was awarded the GOLD level of certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Learn more about the Welcome Center’s green features.

Sustainable Infrastructure

Around Cornell Botanic Gardens you can find many examples of sustainable infrastructure:

Nevin Welcome Center Green Roof: Seven cultivated varieties of sedum are planted on the roof of the welcome center to keep air in the building cool in the summer and keep warm air in during winter.

Bioswale Garden: Adjacent to the parking lot at the Nevin Welcome Center, a bioswale garden and a filter strip of trees were installed to capture stormwater from the parking lot and surrounding roads. Water from the road and parking lot is diverted into the bioswale garden where grasses and other perennials with fibrous roots capture suspended particles. This process filters the stormwater before it flows into nearby Beebe Lake.

View a diagram of the filter strip and bioswale garden

Harder Watercourse Garden: In response to the erosion of a hillside in the arboretum during heavy rains, Cornell Botanic Gardens designed a “rain garden” to capture and slow down the flow of rainwater during heavy storm events. Plants in this garden stabilize the soil and thrive in the wet soils where water collects.

View interpretive panel

Rainwater harvesting barrels:  Several barrels were installed in the vegetable garden and at our plant production facility to capture rainwater, which is then used for watering the plants in that area.

Sustainable Landscapes Trail

Explore sustainability in practice in this narrated virtual tour of sites across Cornell Botanic Gardens and the Cornell campus including seven sites within Cornell Botanic Gardens’ gardens and natural areas.

Practice Integrated Pest Management

Minimize the use of chemical pesticides.

Sustainability at Home 

Tips for gardening sustainably and where they are showcased at Cornell Botanic Gardens.

Energy and Resource Conservation

We make every effort to conserve energy, water, and other resources.