You may have heard the addition to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences referred to by several names: the Nature Research Center or the Daily Planet. Each refers to a section of the new wing and collectively, along with several other major pieces, will make up the "Green Square Complex."

If the inside of the new museum isn't going to be impressive enough, the architecture and design of the whole complex will blow your socks off and add a striking new dimension to the landscape of downtown Raleigh.

Around here, we have been kicking around the question of whether the globe (the Daily Planet) will become Raleigh's new "landmark" feature, and we will talk more about that in a few days. But in the meantime, let us tell you just a little about the green practices that have been included in the facility's design.

We'll start with a new word you can throw around when you are talking about sustainability: "daylighting." To reduce energy costs and pollution, architects made a point of maximizing natural sunlight by including fewer interior walls and more windows. Serendipitously, studies have shown that increased exposure to sunlight makes workers more productive (and keeps them from looking pasty).

And of course, water-saving measures were integral. The building includes cisterns and receptacles throughout to capture rainwater for treating and recycling so that it can be reused to flush toilets and water plants.

Builders used environmentally-friendly products like low-emission paints and carpentry materials. And by using natural stone quarried in North Carolina, the building is tied back to the earth from which it came.

There's a lot more information on this great Green Square website. And make sure you sign up at for the latest updates about the opening of the new wing.