Black Rock Forest Consortium made a significant commitment to sustainable technology in the 1990s with the decision to build a green campus. The Consortium raised $4M for this project and, in 1995, commissioned an architure firm well known for its landmark green buildings to create a Master Plan for its facilities. The site selected, on the shoulder of Whitehorse Mountain, was once a farm. This previously developed area has easy access to primary roadways, yet is a quiet and beautiful natural forest setting. As part of the Master Plan, the architects also developed Sustainable Guidelines for future design that address energy use, daylighting, ventilation standards, and use of local or recycled materials.
The Center for Science and Education, opened in October 1999, incorporated state-of-the-art green building components. The Forest Lodge opened in June 2004, incorporating new green features that had not previously been available. In 2006, the Consortium added solar panel arrays capable of producing up to 29,000 kilowatt-hours of power per year.
In 2010, a rain garden was added to the Upper Parking Lot, thanks to funding from the NYS Environmental Protection Fund, provided through the NYS Department of Conservation and the Hudson River Estuary Program. Designed by Kevin Sumner of the Orange County Soil and Water Conservation District, the rain garden was planned, constructed, and planted with deer resistant, native plants by Consortium staff in conjunction with Simon Gruber, an environmental consultant, and Lucy Joyce and Rose Baglia of the Cornell Cooperative Extension.
The Consortium's green buildings have won several awards, including the School Construction News Design Share Honor Award and Orange Environment's Environmental Education Award in 2002, and the NESEA for Places of Learning 2004 Northeast Green Building Award Honorable Mention (all three for the Science Center); as well as the American Engineering Association's Gold Award for Engineering Excellence (with Dagher Engineering, for the Lodge's geothermal heating and cooling system) and being honored as an Innovative Green Project by Eco-Structure magazine (the Lodge, 2005).