Photo by Dan Henry—Times Free Press
The Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute, or TNACI, a 14,000-square-foot freshwater research center on the banks of the Tennessee River opened this week in Chattanooga.
Located on the campus of Baylor School, the facility will provide a central location for researchers across the Southeast to bolster the mission of restoring the region’s natural ecosystems and educating the public on conservation.
EMJ began work on the LEED-gold project in late 2015. The building is constructed with SIPS panels, a highly-sustainable, energy-efficient wall system, and includes numerous environmentally conscious design elements, such as an elevator powered by vegetable oil.
In addition to the facility’s sustainable structure, the site includes bioretention and wetland preservation features.
“The extensive landscaping was an integral part of the project as it was designed to restore the land back to before western settlers arrived with native plantings and grasses and to utilize rain water retention and protect wildlife,” said John Rudez, Superintendent on the project.
The conservation institute is not open to the public, aside from monthly tours that require online registration, but its mission is essential to the aquarium’s reputation for doing more than just showcasing the region’s biodiversity for public view.
Read more about the project from the Times Free Press.