Byron Forest Preserve’s Keller Education Center receives Platinum LEED certification

Online Staff Report

BYRON, Ill. — The Byron Forest Preserve District’s Keller Education Center has received Platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) in Washington, D.C.

The certification, announced in December by the USGBC, recognizes the Byron Forest Preserve District’s strong commitment to the environment and its leadership in sustainability from start to finish in construction of the Keller Education Center building.

“We are pleased and proud to be recognized for the district’s long-term commitment to energy sustainability and the environment and are thrilled to receive a Platinum award for this project,” said Todd Tucker, executive director for the Byron Forest Preserve District.

An internationally recognized green building program, LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.

The Keller Education Center houses the district’s preschool education classes, summer children’s education programs and itself can be used as a teaching tool regarding green building technology.

The Platinum Award is the highest possible rating given by the USGBC and recognizes the building’s many energy-efficient and green-design features. Some of these include the use of renewable energy solar panels and a wind turbine; geothermal ground source heat pump; recycled rubber floor tiles, glass and concrete countertops, and plastic restroom partitions; use of natural light and interior lighting control systems; use of Forest Stewardship Council-certified sustainable wood products; improved indoor air quality through the use of low-volatile organic compound (VOC) paints; reflective metal roofing; low-flow water closets and faucets; and preferred parking for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles.

The Keller Education Center is one of 46 Platinum LEED-certified commercial building projects that are publicly identified in Illinois and one of only three Platinum LEED-certified education buildings in Illinois. The building is also the first Platinum LEED-certified building in Ogle County.

In honor of the distinction, Tucker said the district will be receiving a plaque from the USGBC for display at the Keller Education Center.

The district and its Green LEED team have been working for several years to meet — and in many cases, exceed — standards required for LEED certification. Team members include Joy Bliton, LEED accredited professional; Dave Kafer, principle architect; Rockford Structures; and the Byron Forest Preserve District Board of Commissioners and staff.

The Byron Forest Preserve District’s mission is to provide for the preservation of open space/natural resources, to provide education concerning our natural environment/heritage and to provide recreation opportunities and enterprise operations that are consistent with the district’s goals. The district oversees more than 2,000 acres of prairie, savanna, woodlands and riverfront land, and manages the Jarrett Prairie Center, Keller Education Center, Weiskopf Observatory, Heritage Farm Museum and Prairie View Golf Club.

Posted Jan. 22, 2014

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