Sustainable Design

From the beginning, the Tillamook Forest Center was envisioned as a place where visitors could learn how their lives are connected to the natural environment. The project successfully delivers on that promise, serving as a living example of sustainable building design, construction, and operating practices with minimal environmental impact on its surroundings. This consideration for creating a “green” building ties together the environmental and interpretive missions of the Tillamook Forest Center.

Following are some of the sustainable elements designed and built by the core project team of The Miller/Hull Partnership, LLP (architecture), AldrichPears Associates (interpretive design), Walker Macy (landscape architecture), and Precision Construction Co. (contractor), and the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Responsible Water Management

The site has been designed so that there will be no increase in the rate or quantity of storm water runoff from the site and will cause no negative impacts to water quality in the Wilson River. The 65,000 gallon forest wetland pond near the building entry performs several key tasks: harvesting and storing rain water for use in the fire sprinkler system; providing non-potable water for other building systems; as a heat exchange for the cooling system. In addition, the pond serves as a reservoir for structural and wildland fire fighters who may need water to fight fires in the surrounding region.

Energy Efficiency

  • The award-winning building has been designed to be 30 percent more energy efficient than code with a goal of using "fossil fuel free" energy throughout.
  • The center is one of the only facilities of its size and type in North America heated by wood pellets. Pellets are made from material that was once wasted in the wood production process.
  • Natural daylight is used to meet 50 percent of the building’s average lighting needs for day lit spaces.
  • Natural ventilation is used, including 100 percent outside air wherever possible in the building.

Sustainable Materials

  • All of the wood and wood products used on the site are from sustainably managed forests. This includes lumber harvested on site or elsewhere in the Tillamook State Forest or timber salvaged or recycled from other sites.
  • A portion of the construction budget was dedicated to materials that were manufactured or fabricated within 150 miles of the Center.
  • Special emphasis was placed on using natural or recycled materials throughout the project, including rock that was crushed on site and used for the road bed and in other areas; excavated material used for fill elsewhere on the site; trees harvested on the site used for benches and tables on site.
  • All of the building framing material (2x4’s through 2x12’s) was grown, harvested and milled less than 30 miles from the Center.

The Tillamook Forest Center building, landscape and interpretive design Master Plan received the 2000 Award of Excellence for Landscape Planning and Analysis from the Oregon Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the highest professional achievement award made by this group. The biennial award recognizes projects that improve the relationship of people to their environment.