Everyone, it seems, is becoming environmentally conscious nowadays. Hybrid cars have taken off in popularity. Fluorescent lighting has buzzed its way into our living rooms. And virtually every community has a tree-planting initiative to offset its carbon emissions. These are exciting moves toward a healthier planet, but not many people can make the claim that their efforts are certified. A few can.
The proud operators of facilities that have achieved certification through the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System[TM] have made a marked push to improve environmental sustainability by meeting a host of building and functionality requirements.
Certification is based on a points system with five categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and environmental quality. Based on the points system, a facility can reach basic certification or be awarded a Silver, Gold, or Platinum certification. The LEED standard has become a world standard, certifying projects in 41 countries and every U.S. state.
Recreation centers have been a leader in this green movement. The North Boulder Recreation Center in Boulder, Colo., was one of the first buildings certified after the LEED system was launched in 2000. And many more are being added to the list of certified buildings as public interest in sustainability increases and local governments see the long-term benefits to building thoughtfully planned, energy-efficient facilities.
LEED certification is a community effort, which is why projects seeking certification often emerge in cities and towns where citizens heavily influence their civic projects. In the following profiles of LEED-certified recreation …