The green building boom is going beyond housing for humans and is expanding its realm into the animal kingdom. Duke University’s Duke Lemur Center (DLC) in Durham, N.C., has two new buildings that are aiming for LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The two buildings, the Releasable Building and the Semi-Releasable Building, are part of a $10.4 million project for the DLC. The architecture firm Lord, Aeck & Sargent, which has a long list of LEED certified buildings under its design belt, is working with Stewart Engineering, Affiliated Engineers Inc, Barnhill Contracting Company and System WorCx on the DLC master plan.

The two new buildings are home to the world’s largest collection of lemurs outside of Madagascar as well as the staff and research team that work at the DLC. The 140 lemurs are separated into two main groups — 60 lemurs that are allowed to free-range in the 69-acre FSC certified Duke Forest and another 80 that have a more limited range due to a variety of reasons.

While the buildings were designed to meet the needs of the staff, researchers and of course the lemurs, they were also designed to meet LEED green building standards. Several features that will help in the DLC’s pursuit of LEED certification have been implemented including the use of regional construction materials, an energy efficient HVAC system, occupancy light sensors for human-occupied spaces, bicycle racks, low-flow plumbing and FSC certified wood laboratory casework.

These two buildings are just the first part of a multi-phase DLC master plan. Eventually the Duke Lemur Center will house another building for the free-range lemurs, nocturnal housing for aye-aye lemurs, a visitor’s center with self-guided tours and more.

For more information about the facility, visit the Duke Lemur Center website.

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