Texas State Parks Regional HQ Cited for ‘Green’ Design
Oct. 2, 2014
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HOUSTON – The U.S. Green Building Council has cited the 7,000-square-foot headquarters of the Texas State Parks’ regional offices at Sheldon Lake State Park for its exceptional “green” architectural design that incorporates a number of cost-efficient and energy-saving features.
Before the end of the month, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department should receive a plaque from the national environmental organization citing the Region 4 office building for achieving LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification. Located on the northern edge of Sheldon Lake just northeast of downtown Houston, the headquarters is the first TPWD structure to receive LEED certification.
LEED Gold is USGBC’s next-to-highest certification level awarded through a detailed process that monitors projects from design through construction and requires detailed documentation. The $1.2 million Region 4 headquarters building, which was completed in 2010, was designed by architects in the agency’s Infrastructure Division.
“The LEED certification supports TPWD’s conservation mission as it relates to water and energy conservation and habitat restoration, and results in low maintenance and utility costs,” says Gordon Bohmfalk, the project’s lead architect and manager of the Infrastructure Division’s planning and design branch. “The building’s use of numerous windows that let in plenty of natural light brings the outdoors inside and has resulted in a positive work environment.”
The single-story structure built of recycled brick and insulated concrete forms (ICF) includes offices, storage and a state-of-the-art training center used by TPWD personnel from throughout the state. A 2011 State Energy Conservation Office grant allowed TPWD to add solar panels to complete the eco-friendly project. The solar panels, placed on pedestals behind the building, serve to shade picnic tables and walkways.
Bohmfalk says the headquarters earned LEED points primarily for its passive energy design, with a higher-than-usual thermal envelope, shaded (low-emitting) glass, natural daylighting and use of recycled materials. The national award also recognized the project’s protection and restoration of habitat, storm water management, light pollution reduction, innovative water use reduction and wastewater technology and energy-producing solar panels.
LEED certified buildings are designed to lower operating costs, reduce waste sent to landfills, conserve energy and water, provide a healthier and safer environment for occupants and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The LEED process also recognizes leadership, innovation, environmental stewardship and social responsibility.
TPWD’s state parks system is composed of 95 sites divided into six regions. Region 4 headquarters staff in Houston work with 17 state parks and historic sites in southeast Texas and along the upper Gulf Coast, including Brazos Bend, Huntsville, San Jacinto and Washington-on-the-Brazos.
For information about Texas State Parks, call (800) 792-1112 or visit: www.texasstateparks.org.
To view images of the Region 4 headquarters, visit: http://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/news_images/?g=state_parks_region_4_headquarters