In 1999 the building that was to become the River Resource Center was donated to Musconetcong Watershed Association by the Riddle family. The Association's board of trustees decided that the empty warehouse would serve as the organization's headquarters. The Board then made the difficult decision to build the headquarters to LEED standards as a demonstration of the Association's conservationist ethic.
Construction began in July 2008 and was completed in April 2009. In June 2010 the River Resource Center was awarded LEED Platinum designation, the highest level of standards set by the U. S. Green Building Council. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The LEED program encourages environmentally friendly and efficient building construction.
The building uses a high degree of insulation in the attic roof and on the exterior walls. This allows the masonry structure to act as a heat sink; it tends to remain at one temperature. It is a bank building, built into a sloping area so that the basement is near to the 55 degree temperature of the ground under the building. This aids in summer cooling.
A geothermal heat pump was employed. The only power used to heat and cool the building is electricity which runs a well pump that circulates 55 degree ground water through the building heating and air conditioning system. The heat extracted from the water is passed through a water-to-air heat exchanger which is used for the building's ventilation. The process is reversed to cool the building on hot days.
High efficiency lighting is used throughout the structure. Thermal windows were installed so that 85 per cent of the work area in the building receives natural lighting. In addition a solar panel array was installed. The building uses less than half the electrical energy of a comparable commercial building.
The Board also elected to use a Clivus Multrum composting toilet. A large green receptacle in the basement contains enzymes in a sawdust medium. This acts to 'digest' human waste into carbon dioxide and water vapor. A fan motor on the building roof removes vapors and odors. There is no septic system on the property. A grey water tank is used to hold water from sinks. Only inert, biodegradable soaps are used in the building. This strategy allows shower and wash water to be returned to the earth without causing any ground water contamination.