HARC President Lisa Gonzalez said the new 18,000-square-foot building has been a long time coming for the organization. It is the first building to earn a Platinum Level LEED certification in The Woodlands and about 11 to 12 percent of its energy usage will come from solar energy, according to HARC.
The organization was created by Woodlands founder George Mitchell in 1982 as a nonprofit technology incubator to perform basic research. Today, HARC focuses on sustainability programs for air, energy and water.
“This building for us is a representation of our mission,” Gonzalez said. “We like to say we help people thrive and nature flourish. This building is an embodiment of that, the way it exists in the environment and the way we’re hoping it will help us better connect to the community.”
The facility is adjacent to HARC's previous headquarters at Lone Star College System, where the nonprofit rented space after selling the land to the college system. HARC was able to buy back a portion of the land to build the new headquarters, said Todd Mitchell, HARC board chairman and one of George Mitchell’s sons.
Mitchell said he believes the new HARC headquarters represents his parent’s values and what it means to be part of the worldwide sustainability movement.
“Specifically, with my father, I think this building has two things he would love: the concept of how it embodies the notion of sustainability science and living with limited resources and maximizing efficiency,” Michell said. “I can’t wait to see over time how the performance of this building can be a lesson that you can build something like this and live in it and thrive in it and be productive as a team and the performance of the building will be exceptional.”
Other building features include:
- On-site storm water management
- The building is heated and cooled using a geothermal system beneath the parking lot
- 70 percent of the acreage remains conserved habitat or restored land
- Daylighting, or using natural light instead of artificial, helps with energy efficiency