Visitor center at Pahranagat NWR earns LEED® certification

Exhibit room at VC

Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge has been awarded LEED Gold Certification for their visitor center's environmentally conscious design


The Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center was awarded LEED® certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction, and operation of high performance “green” buildings.

The visitor center earned LEED Gold certification. The rating was verified by the Green Building Certification Institute. The facility was certified for energy use, lighting, water and material use, and for incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies.

The Pahranagat NWR Visitor Center was designed for energy efficiency and blends well with its natural surroundings. The building’s thermal design helps it maintain consistent indoor temperatures. Photovoltaic panels produce the facility’s electricity, resulting in “net zero” power consumption. The building’s utilities are sensor controlled, and in-ground geothermal coils provide heating and cooling. Additionally, native Mojave Desert landscaping requires a small amount of water and the building’s low-flow plumbing fixtures help minimize indoor water use.

The 4,900-square-foot facility opened to the public in December 2014, and provides visitor services, information, exhibits, and space for educational programs and meetings. Refuge staff worked closely with Nuwuvi (Southern Paiutes) to develop exhibits interpreting the wildlife refuge through multiple perspectives. The building also houses administrative offices for refuge staff. Outside of the facility, visitors can walk along a short loop trail through a riparian area that includes a small stream and interpretive exhibits, or they can head out on one of three other trails that start nearby.

The Pahranagat NWR Visitor Center is open Thursday through Monday from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The refuge itself is open 24 hours a day throughout the year.

The Pahranagat NWR was established on August 16, 1963, to provide habitat for migratory birds, especially waterfowl. The wildlife refuge is located approximately 90 miles north of Las Vegas on U.S. 93 in Lincoln County, Nevada. Situated along the Pacific Flyway, Pahranagat's 5,380 acres contain lakes and marshes, which are rare sights in southern Nevada. For more information about the wildlife refuge, visit www.fws.gov/refuge/pahranagat/. 

All three visitor centers in the Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex are now LEED certified. The Desert NWR Visitor Center was awarded LEED Platinum certification in 2014 and the Ash Meadows NWR Visitor Center earned LEED Silver certification in late 2017.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information about our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov/cno/ or connect with us via FacebookTwitterYouTube, and Flickr.