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Nature Center is Greenest Public Building in County

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San Elijo Nature Center

August 25, 2009

Made from recycled materials, including denim blue jeans, the San Elijo Nature Center is the first public building in the county to receive the highest ranking in green building design, a LEED Platinum certification.  LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is evaluated by the U.S. Green Business Council.

“The San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center is an example of a high-quality building; one of only a few of its kind in the nation,” said Board of Supervisors Vice Chairwoman Pam Slater-Price. “It teaches environmental understanding not only through its exhibits, but also through the construction of the building itself. I’m proud of the LEED Platinum certification. This center will continue to provide valuable environmental enrichment for generations to come.”

 Video: San Elijo Nature Center Opens  (Note: Building had LEED Gold certification at the time)

The 5,600 square foot facility, designed by Zagrodnik + Thomas Architects, incorporates green building features such as the use of radiant floor heating, certified renewable lumber, photovoltaics that provide more than half of the building’s energy, and natural light and ventilation.

The U.S. Green Building Council uses a point system to evaluate how well a building is designed to conserve natural resources and reduce impact on the environment. The maximum points a building can receive is 69. The San Elijo Nature Center scored 53 points.

“When we started the project nearly five years ago, many people said a LEED Platinum certification would be impossible,” said Brian Albright, Director of the County of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department. “But our project team made it happen, and now we have established a model for sustainability that will help guide future projects.”
The nature center is located at 2710 Manchester Avenue in Cardiff-by-the-Sea and is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Christmas.

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