By Lethbridge Herald on July 23, 2015.
The Helen Schuler Nature CentreÂ received a huge honour Wednesday, becoming the cityâ€™s first LEED-Gold certified building for innovation in design, sustainability, and overall efficiency.
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and HSNCâ€™s Coreen Putman said the designation comes from a variety of factors.
â€œIt is a huge achievement,â€ said Putman. â€œWeâ€™re very, very proud today to unveil the plaque. What better place to have it, where people can come down and learn about sustainable building and learn about some of the unique features in the facility. As an environmental education centre, itâ€™s a perfect fit.â€
Some of the buildingâ€™s notable green features include low-flow water fixtures to conserve water, photovoltaic (solar) panels which provide low-impact renewable energy and power the lighting in the community spaces, efficient mechanical systems to reduce energy use, and an electrical vehicle charging station.
There are built-in features to manage and filter storm water, including several rain gardens and landscaping around the building, which help to reduce contaminants from entering the river.
Putnam said the building is very well insulated, so less energy is needed to heat and cool it. The two â€œliving roofsâ€ help contribute to that.
â€œThey help to protect the roofing structure thatâ€™s underneath, they increase the R-value of the insulation we have, they help to filter the water, and they provide pollinator habitat and contribute to the environment around them,â€ she explained.
A number of HSNC volunteers and interpreters were on hand to give building tours to visitors, and unveil the LEED-Gold plaque, which will be displayed in the front entranceway.