Edit ModuleShow Tags

Green Inside and Out

It makes sense: Kaua‘i’s first green building will be a world-class botanical research center.


The columns are up, the foundation is poured, and when it’s finished around the end of this year, the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) will boast Kaua‘i’s first green building. The two-story, 20,000-square-foot structure will house a state-of-the-art Botanical Research Center containing a rare book collection, a herbarium with more than 56,000 plant specimens, a 15,000 volume research library, lab space, and additional educational and research areas.

The new building has a minimalist vibe, and a “green” design.

Rooftop photovoltaic panels will produce an estimated 10 percent of the building’s energy. A rainwater catchment system, equipped with a 25,000-gallon underground storage tank, will irrigate the property’s upper gardens. Recycled hardwoods and use of natural daylight also help. Because of its green components, the building hopes to receive the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, which would acknowledge its environmental prowess. Additionally, the reinforced concrete building will have a backup generator, and will be able to withstand Category 5 hurricane winds.

Architect Dean Sakamoto, explains, “One of the building’s requirements was that it needed to be … temperature and humidity controlled, so that the rare books, the plant specimens and the reference library would stay intact over many years. It has to be a strongbox, so I’m basically building a storm-proof, refrigerated tropical building.”

Established more than 40 years ago, NTBG is dedicated to all things plant-related, including conservation, research and education. Its campus headquarters in Kal-aheo, Kaua‘i, is made up of three buildings, designed by late, famed architect Vladimir Ossipoff, separately housing its herbarium, lab, library administrative and education areas. For decades, a fourth building was envisioned as the crown jewel of the campus. “Having everything in different buildings is problematic for us, because we can’t take herbarium specimens out of one building and put them into the next since the materials need to be protected from temperature and humidity changes, and isolated from pests,” says Charles “Chipper” Wichman, CEO and director of NTBG. “This building will bring all of our essential functions into a single building, and we’ll be able to have complete interchange of all of the collections.”

The new facility will serve as everything from an extensive resource center for international researchers to a living classroom for local schools, covering everything from horticulture to ethnobotany. “One of the things that NTBG is interested in is growing people as well as plants, so we are very hopeful that this will become a facility where some of our local people start their careers.”

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Subscribe to Honolulu

Honolulu Magazine June 2018
Edit ModuleShow Tags



Colin Nishida, Beloved Chef and Restaurateur, Leaves a Culinary Legacy

Colin Nishida

An entire community remembers the owner of Side Street Inn.


Closing of Popular Lanikai Pillbox Hike Delayed Until Further Notice

Lanikai Pillbox Hike

The state asks for public input as it works to repair the old concrete observation stations on the trail, commonly known as “pillboxes.”


First Look: Panda Dimsum in Kalihi

Panda Dim Sum

Frogs, hedgehogs and bees, oh my! This spot dishes up cute, Instagrammable dumplings.


Kaimukī Gets da Shop, a New Kind of Bookstore and Event Space

Da Shop

It takes guts to open a brick-and-mortar bookstore in the days of instant online gratification, but in da Shop, local publisher Bess Press has found a way to allow fickle/loyal readers to have their cake and eat it, too.


20 Great O‘ahu Hikes

Explore 20 great adventures that offer beautiful vistas, waterfalls and more.



Edit ModuleShow Tags