[audubon-news] Audubon Has Worlds Most Environmentally Friendly Building

  • From: "BIANCHI, John" <JBIANCHI@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <audubon-news@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 13 Jan 2004 10:20:29 -0500

Contact: Linda Vanderveer
lvanderveer@xxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:lvanderveer@xxxxxxxxxxx>


From Floor to Ceiling, Audubon Center at Debs Park in Los Angeles 
Makes it Easy to Be Green

Los Angeles, CA  January 13, 2004 - The National Audubon Society is getting the 
new year off to a "green" start.  The conservation organization announced today 
that the Audubon Center at Debs Park in Los Angeles has been certified as the 
nation's most environmentally friendly building.  The Audubon Center received a 
Platinum Rating - the highest possible - from the U.S. Green Building Council, 
the nation's leading authority on sustainable building practices.

The Audubon Center at Debs Park is the first building in the nation to receive 
the Platinum Rating under the Council's new LEED (Leadership in Energy and 
Environmental Design) Green Building Rating SystemTM 2.1.  The achievement 
catapults Audubon to the head of the pack of southern California buildings 
seeking LEED ratings, as well as ahead of other buildings that were certified 
as Platinum under LEED's earlier, 1.0 pilot version.

The design of the Audubon Center at Debs Park focuses on a number of key 
environmental issues that are at the heart of sustainable building, including 
renewable energy sources, water conservation, recycled building materials, and 
native landscaping.  The 5,023 square-foot building is the first in the city of 
Los Angeles to be entirely powered by on-site solar systems - functioning 
entirely "off the grid."  The building also uses significantly less water than 
a conventional building of its size.  

"Audubon has been a leader in conservation for nearly a century," said Jerry 
Secundy, executive director of Audubon California.  "The Audubon Center at Debs 
Park continues that legacy.  As our nation's cities and population grow, the 
environmental and economic advantages of sustainably designed buildings will 
become increasingly important.  The role of the Audubon Center as a model of 
green architecture will only grow more significant in years to come."

In order to meet the requirements for the Platinum Rating, a building must earn 
a minimum of 52 sustainability points out of an available 69.  Points are 
awarded for everything from site selection and materials used, to innovative 
design and indoor environmental quality.  The Audubon Center at Debs Park 
earned 53 LEED points, garnering particularly high marks for its efficient 
water system, and renewable energy sources.  

"In a city like Los Angeles, embracing sustainable design is one of the most 
responsible actions you can take," said Christine Ervin, President and CEO, 
U.S. Green Building Council.  "As a premier example of green architecture, the 
Audubon Center will provide inspiration and guidance for others looking to go 

While energy and water conservation are major green features of the building, 
Audubon's commit extends way beyond those requirements.  Virtually every aspect 
of the Audubon Center at Debs Park - from the floor to the rooftop - was 
crafted to adhere to the stringent LEED 2.1 requirements.  Recycled materials 
were used wherever possible, included melted down handguns and scrap metal in 
the rebar that strengthens concrete blocks and floors.  The use of organic 
materials was also key, and is demonstrated in everything from the carpeting of 
Mexican agave plant, to wheat board and sunflower board cabinets and desks.

The LEED program also stresses the importance of using locally harvested and 
manufactured materials, including wood, landscape plantings, sheet metal, 
concrete, and paving materials.  More than 25 percent of the building materials 
used in the Audubon Center were locally harvested, and more than 50 percent of 
the materials were locally manufactured - in both cases an amount 2.5 times 
that required to achieve LEED credits. 

Located just ten minutes northeast of downtown Los Angeles, Ernest E. Debs 
Regional Park is 282-acres of urban wilderness.  Debs Park hosts coyotes and 
138 species of birds, yet is surrounded by some of the city's densest urban 
neighborhoods.  Within two miles there are 50,000 young people, predominantly 
Latino, for whom the park and the Audubon Center will provide a lifetime of 
outdoor discovery.  

Audubon assembled a team of Green Building Council affiliates to bring the 
Audubon Center at Debs Park to life.  The building was designed by EHDD 
Architects, and built by TG Construction.  The LEED documentation and 
submission was handled by Soltierra, LLC.  BOVIS Lend Lease acted as owner's 
representative, and more than twenty other firms provided design and 
construction services.  Campbell and Campbell created the architectural concept 
and landscape architecture designs.  The U.S. Green Building Council is the 
nation's foremost coalition of leaders from across the building industry 
working to promote environmentally responsible design and construction.  The 
LEED rating system is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for 
evaluating high-performance, sustainable buildings.  

Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat 
that supports them.  Our national network of community-based nature centers and 
chapters, scientific and educational programs, and advocacy on behalf of areas 
sustaining important bird populations, engage millions of people of all ages 
and backgrounds in positive conservation experiences.

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