The Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County’s Education Center at its Renewable Energy Facility 2 (REF 2) has been awarded LEED® Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). It is only the third facility to earn the LEED Platinum designation in Palm Beach County.
The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building program provides independent verification of a building or neighborhood’s green features by the USGBC. The Platinum rating recognizes the highest level of sustainability practices, with a rating system that assesses seven aspects of sustainable design, including site selection, water and energy efficiency, materials used and innovation.
"The SWA Education Center is often the first stop for visitors and students who would like to learn more about our award-winning integrated system of facilities," said Ramana Kari, the SWA’s Chief Engineer. "Special attention went into the Education Center so it would be a showcase for sustainable building design."
The Solid Waste Authority’s Education Center opened in the summer of 2015 and was built as part of the construction of REF 2, the most advanced and cleanest waste-to-energy facility in North America. The Education Center design incorporates several sustainable aspects, such as:
- vegetated roofing that reduces the energy needed to cool the building
- floor tiles made of recycled tires that demonstrate novel recycling concepts
- a rainwater cistern for use on landscaping that reduces the need to use treated water
- motion-sensor lighting that conserves electricity
- solar panels that supplement the energy used onsite
- a reception desk made out of reclaimed concrete that demonstrates innovative reuse ideas
"The Education Center presented an opportunity to demonstrate the SWA’s environmental leadership in solid waste management," said Kari. "We swung for the fence and hit a home run. The LEED Platinum certification proves that."
"Buildings are a prime example of how human systems integrate with natural systems," said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair, U.S. Green Building Council. "The Education Center at REF 2 efficiently uses our natural resources and makes an immediate, positive impact on our planet, which will tremendously benefit future generations to come."
The REF 2 project earned many honors since coming online:
- 2015-2016 Project of the Year by the American Society of Civil Engineers, Palm Beach Branch
- 2015 Best Non-Highway Bridge by PCI Design Awards
- 2015 Crown Communities Award for Sustainability by American City and County Magazine
- June 24, 2015, Honored in the Congressional Record by Representative Ted Deutch
- Oct. 14, 2015, Honored at the SWA Governing Board meeting by Florida Representative Lori Berman
About the LEED Certification Program – LEED is the most widely used third-party verification for green buildings, allowing for the design, construction, operations and maintenance of resource-efficient, high-performing, healthy, cost-effective buildings. LEED is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings, with more than 79,000 projects participating across 160 countries and territories.