For fans of the movie Back to the Future II, October 21, 2015 is a notable date. When the film was released in 1989, that date seemed light years away. Interestingly enough, many of its predictions proved remarkably accurate. For fans of the Alice Ferguson Foundation, October 23, 2015, marks the last day of our 60th year of operation. Throughout the past six decades, our guiding principles of Education, Inspiration and Innovation have also proved to be remarkably on point.
In many ways we feel like we’ve gone ‘Back to the Future’ as we unveil our new education building. Some of the key components of the facility, like nutrient recycling toilets, are a modern day twist on an age-old concept. Other components, like harvesting energy from the sun’s power, seemed fantastical just a few decades ago.
Today, as we cut the ribbon on our new education building we look forward to serving thousands of students annually from around the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area who will be able to enjoy and learn using one of the world’s greenest, most energy efficient buildings. To date, only seven buildings worldwide have been certified through this rigorous regimen, which also requires strict adherence to use of non-toxic materials in building construction as well as the net zero energy, net zero water and carbon neutral requirements of the Living Building Challenge™.
Leaders from around the region joined us for this important milestone including U.S. Senator Ben Cardin who said “Not long ago, carbon-neutral buildings made completely of non-toxic materials that use net zero energy and water were the stuff of science fiction, but today are a reality. Visionary projects like these will help show us the way out of the climate change crisis we are continuing to create for ourselves. I couldn’t be happier to have this monument to sustainability in Maryland or to know that thousands of students will have the chance to learn vital lessons here in the future.”
Our goal is for students to have an inspiring place to learn in these buildings that serve as powerful and innovative teaching tools. Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III also joined us for the ceremony and remarked, “With today’s ribbon cutting of this unique state-of-the-art environmental learning center, the Alice Ferguson Foundation and Prince George’s County will be demonstrating to the world the newest in sustainable technologies and simultaneously educating the next generation of incredible environmental stewards.”
Nobody knows exactly what the future holds, not even Back to the Future’s main character, Marty McFly. What we do know is that the future will be brighter and more promising as a result of the Foundation’s investment in the Living Building Challenge which is certain to change the face of construction for generations to come.