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HARC Hosts Groundbreaking of New Headquarters

Posting Date: 
Friday, May 27, 2016

Local leaders and building partners joined together with HARC (Houston Advanced Research Center) board and staff on Tuesday to break ground on HARC’s $7M headquarters building.

The new HARC headquarters will be the first platinum LEED-certified building in the Woodlands with 18,000-square-feet of space to accommodate 50 staff members.

“The building will serve as a sustainability model for future building in the Houston region,” said HARC President Dr. Jim Lester. “It will be the greenest building in a green community.”

Local leaders attending the event included The Woodlands Township Board Chairman Ed Robb, Vice Chair Mike Bass and Director Ann Snyder, alongside Gil Staley of the Woodlands Economic Development Partnership. The HARC Board of Directors was represented by Spiros Vassilakis, Bo Smith, Ray Cline and Bruce Tough. The building’s designer Gensler and building partners CMTA, Vogt Engineering and Brookstone were there to mark the occasion.

“The founder of HARC and The Woodlands, George P. Mitchell, was adamant when anyone suggested moving HARC to Houston that the organization remain in The Woodlands,” Dr. Lester said. “After the sale of HARC’s Research Forest campus to Lone Star College, a 3.5-acre parcel was purchased with the intent to one day construct a new building that truly represents HARC’s mission and Mr. Mitchell’s vision for sustainability.”

The HARC building and design team included research scientists on staff as well as local ecologists, architects, and environmental engineers. The team worked to integrate best environmental and green building practices into the site plan and the building to minimize impact on the environment.

The most biodiverse areas of native vegetation were protected on the site and revegetation will be done with carefully selected native species. Storm water will be retained in bioswales and natural wetlands.

The site will conserve water through the use of low flow fixtures and natural rainfall/run-off; eliminating the need for artificial irrigation. The building will be heated and cooled using a geothermal system designed by CMTA, with some power supplied by solar panels. Efficiency of energy use will be maximized due to many features in the design by Gensler including daylighting, a design which promotes natural light.

“This building will highlight HARC and demonstrate that we are putting sustainability practices into action,” HARC Vice President Lisa Gonzalez said. “We anticipate this will serve as a model of how a building designed for a sustainable future can be operated cost effectively and enhance employee health and well-being.”

The new HARC building at 8801 Gosling Road will be completed in April 2017.

HARC is a nonprofit research hub dedicated to advancing sustainability and focusing in three issue areas: energy, water and air. Learn more at HARCresearch.org.