The National Park Service (NPS) opened a net-zero energy visitor center in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA), the first of its kind in the nearly 400 parks that make up the NPS system.

Named for the congressman who introduced legislation to create SMMNRA in 1978, the Anthony C. Beilenson Visitor Center at the King Gillette Ranch is LEED Platinum Certified, produces all of its energy needs through a 94-kilowatt photovoltaic solar-energy system, and replaces traditional lighting options with light-emitting diode (LED) technology.

“The beauty of this new visitor center is that it combines the old with the new to achieve the highest environmental standards,” said Kate Kuykendall, park spokesperson. “In addition to the original architect’s extensive use of natural lighting, we’re proud to use LED lighting technology to decrease the carbon footprint of the facility.”

The 7,000-square-foot Beilenson Center was originally the horse stables of the 588-acre King Gillette Ranch, which is located at the intersection of five major tributaries. The ranch includes the 1928 mansion designed for razor magnate King C. Gillette by Wallace Neff.

The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act provided $9.5 million in funding for the center’s construction, ensuring that all building materials are American-made.