BENNEZETTE, Pa. - The Elk Country Visitor Center in Bennezette, Pa., designed by Habiterra Architecture and Landscape Architecture PC of Jamestown, has received LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
The center is a collaborative effort between the Keystone Elk Country Alliance and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
The Elk Country Visitor Center is an 8,500 square foot building situated on a 265-acre property located in Benezette Township in central Pennsylvania. The center allows visitors to be in close proximity to nature and view the free roaming wildlife, elk being the main attraction, while receiving educational messages about environmental conservation.
"The Center is an Educational Conservation Education Center designed to educate visitors on environmental conservation and ways people can positively impact the environment and wildlife through educated design and construction practices,'' said Robert Nordin, an architect from Habiterra.
This message has been echoed through sensitive and careful development of the site and a new LEED gold certified facility.
"The Elk Country Visitor's Center's LEED certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership," said Rick Fedrizzi, U.S. Green Building Council president, chief executive officer and founding chair. "The urgency of USGBC's mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further than ever before, and The Elk Country Visitor's Center serves as a prime example with just how much we can accomplish."
LEED building design guidelines provide building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building, home or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
"Designing the center to incorporate several features that are key LEED components including highly insulated construction, day lighting, a geothermal heating system, recycled or reused materials and storm water management components to reduce the impact on the environment was a challenge the design team work to achieve." Nordin said. "Achieving a minimal impact on the environment was a major goal of the project team that I feel was achieved in an aesthetically pleasing design showing both can be achieved through thoughtful design."