The Barrier Island Study Center

The Barrier Island Study Center (BISC), is the first community-based barrier island research and education facility in the nation.

Upon entering the building you will be immediately "floored" by the beauty of the riverwood, salvaged from the Cape Fear River, present on the stairs, flooring and trim throughout the building. The entrance also includes a planter, featuring native species and serves as a refuge for the red bay tree, which is under threat from an invasive beetle. Throughout the interior of the Center, you will find recycled tiles, energy efficient lighting including natural light from skylights which filters down to the first floor through glass flooring panels on the second floor. Recycled cotton panels in the ceilings provides acoustical insulation. The HVAC system is zone specific and highly efficient.

The Center was built using structural insulated panels, or SIP, walls that feature closed cell foam in-between two pieces of particleboard. These walls provide the a very high level of energy efficiency and can be assembled at the plant reducing the expensive costs of on-island labor and onsite waste. Recycled steel is also used in the support structures and wall and floor framing.

The exterior of the Center also boasts several green features including roofing material containing 75% recycled aluminum, shingles of wood fiber and cement having a 50 year life span and a 6,800 gallon rainwater collection system. Cistern water is used for flushing toilets, landscape irrigation and rinsing beach vehicles.

BISC’s placement on the BHI Conservancy Campus respects the dunes and maritime forest in which it is set, through minimal disruption of vegetation, native landscaping and other green strategies.

The project was awarded LEED Gold Certification by the US Green Building Council, one of 71 gold projects in the state and one of only six gold certified projects in southeastern North Carolina for new construction.