On July 22, the Helen Schuler Nature Centre (HSNC) celebrated becoming Lethbridge, Alta.’s first LEED-Gold certified building by unveiling its plaque, which will be placed in the centre’s front entranceway, reports The Lethbridge Herald. The HSNC received the designation for innovation in design, sustainability and overall efficiency.
“It is a huge achievement. We’re very, very proud today to unveil the plaque. What better place to have it, where people can come down and learn about sustainable building and learn about some of the unique features in the facility,” HSNC’s Coreen Putman told The Lethbridge Herald. “As an environmental education centre, it’s a perfect fit.”
Among the building’s green features are low-flow water fixtures, photovoltaic (solar) panels to provide low-impact renewable energy and power lighting in shared spaces, efficient mechanical systems to reduce energy use and an electric car-charging station. It also has systems in place to manage and filter storm water, such as rain gardens and landscaping around the building, which help filter contamination before it flows into the river.
According to Putman, the building is well-insulated to use less energy for heating and cooling. Another contributing factor is the building’s “living roofs.”
“They help to protect the roofing structure that’s underneath, they increase the R-value of the insulation we have, they help to filter the water and they provide pollinator habitat and contribute to the environment around them,” said Putman.