Mingo Visitor Center

Mingo Visitor Center

The Mingo Headquarters and Visitor Center serves as a place for visitors to learn about and enjoy Mingo National Wildlife Refuge. The building includes a multipurpose room, exhibits, bookstore, staff offices and storage. Surrounding the building are accessible trails and an observation area. The interactive exhibits interpret the history of the refuge and the plants, wildlife and habitats that make Mingo so unique to southeast Missouri.

Visitor Center Hours of Operation

Temporary Hours: Wednesday-Saturday 9:00 am-4:00 pm


Green Building Information

Mingo National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Visitor Center was constructed with sustainable design and construction practices in mind. Early in design, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established goals to pursue green building certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design.

Sustainable Sites

Buildings are interconnected with the ecosystems and communities around them. The sustainable sites category promotes responsible site selection and development.

The site for the Mingo NWR Visitor Center is in a forested, natural area that required careful attention during the construction process to not disturb the surrounding landscape and habitats.

Alternative Transportation is encouraged by installing bike racks to promote healthy living and lessen dependence on vehicles. There are a variety of ways in which this facility has been designed to minimize heat absorption from the sun. Approximately 12,316 square feet of roof is covered by light colored membrane to keep the building cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Water Efficiency

Buildings require large volumes of water during normal operation, we can all do our part to help lessen the burden on this precious resource.

To reduce the burden on ground-water supply and wastewater systems, Mingo draws a portion of its water from a rainwater harvesting system composed of a 3,000 gallon underground storage tank. In an effort to further conserve water, low flow plumbing fixtures were installed throughout the building. The 46,260 gallons of rainwater collected annually combined with the water conserving fixtures help to save 100% of the water needed for flush fixtures 85% of the buildings total annual potable water use.

Preserving irrigation water by specifying native drought tolerant plant species that do not require irrigation to thrive.

Energy and Atmosphere

According to Environmental Protection Agency, buildings are the single largest consumer of energy in the US, accounting for nearly 70% of all electricity produced nationwide. Much of this energy is wasted due to inefficiencies and human behavior. Energy use translated into greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, special attention to the energy performance at Mingo NWR Visitor Center was prioritized in the design and construction strategies.

Energy efficiency reduces the environmental burdens associated with producing and using energy. Orienting the building to take advantage of north and south facing sun, and minimize glare from the west was the first essential step in optimizing energy performance. At Mingo, there are a variety of energy saving technologies put into practice. On-site renewable energy, solar panels, have been installed for energy and hot water to offset 25,953kWh annually. This renewable energy makes up 18% of the building’s energy demand. Energy efficient lighting, HVAC, pumps, and fans all aided in the building’s projected energy savings which are 42.26% better than ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007, this also equates to over $9,500 in annual energy savings. To further offset the buildings carbon footprint, Green-e certified Renewable Energy Certificate has been purchased to offset 159,750 kWh over two years. Renewable energy lessens our demand on fossil fuel energy.

Materials and Resources

During planning and construction, building materials that reduce the negative impact associated with processing virgin raw materials was prioritized as much as possible. Additionally, recycling of consumables such as glass, paper/cardboard, plastic and aluminum is encouraged by all building occupants and visitors.

Materials that contain recycled content and were manufactured regionally or salvaged to lessen the greenhouse gas emissions associated with manufacturing and transporting materials were prioritized. Examples of materials that contain recycled content are steel, flooring, windows and ceiling tile. Materials that were sourced within a 500 mile radius of the building include concrete, landscaping and some building finishes. A significant amount of the wood in the building was sourced from sustainably harvested, FSC certified resources.

Indoor Environmental Quality

People spend more than 90% of the time indoors according to the US EPA. It is for this reason that particular attention to the quality of building materials was given to optimize the health and wellbeing of all occupants.

A non-smoking policy to protect the air quality and health of all visitors and staff has been proudly carried out at the Mingo NWR Visitor Center.

Low-emitting paints, sealants and flooring were used to protect the health and well-being of all tenants from airborne toxins that are typically in these products and harmful to breathe. Such products were tracked carefully to ensure that they do not exceed strict VOC limits.

Additional measures to improve the indoor air quality include the utilization of a comprehensive construction IAQ Management Plan during the construction process to minimize dust and air pollutants. Also, walk-off mats have been installed at the building entrances in an effort to limit dirt and debris from being tracked indoors.

Innovation and Design Process

This project pushes beyond the required LEED categories by using new and innovative sustainable techniques.

There are a few areas of exemplary performance that were granted in the LEED rating system for demonstrating heightened achievement, this includes: Water Efficient Landscaping and Green Power.

At the Mingo NWR Visitor Center we provide on-going environmental education programs and also encourage our visitors to learn more about the benefits of sustainable design and construction. Mingo NWR is proud to pursue green building certification under the LEED Rating System. Additional information about LEED can be found at www.usgbc.org