The city is making efforts to build environmentally friendly facilities. In 2012, The Summit Active Adult Center received LEED* Gold Certification, the highest award available. The Public Safety Building qualified for LEED Silver Status.
*Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified buildings:
- Lower operating costs and increased asset value.
- Reduce waste sent to landfills.
- Conserve energy and water.
- Healthier and safer for occupants.
- Reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
- Qualify for tax rebates, zoning allowances and other incentives in hundreds of cities.
- Demonstrate an owner's commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility.
The LEED certification system was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). It contains a set of standards for design, materials, and construction of new buildings that makes them "environmentally friendly" and energy efficient. There are three levels of certification, gold, silver, and platinum, with gold being the most stringent. It is quickly becoming the industry standard and there are also provisions for remodeling existing structures, residential and non-residential.
The Summit Active Adult Center received LEED Gold Certification, the highest award available, for the building’s sustainable design and construction, including abundant natural light, improved indoor air quality, energy-efficient LED lighting and mechanical systems, water-conserving landscaping and aquatic features.
Energy efficiency is maximized in the pool and spa area where water is kept warm by recycling heat from the natatorium’s dehumidification system. Ultraviolet light is used to sanitize water in the pool and spa helping with air quality in the aquatics area.
Air quality in the building is maximized with low VOC (volatile organic compound) materials such as formaldehyde-free wood and low VOC paints and adhesives. The building’s air conditioning system turns over air efficiently, especially essential in meeting rooms where cooling is needed quickly for short periods of time and in the locker rooms, where fresh air needs to be constant. High efficiency LED lighting is used in the facility’s parking lot and street lights.
The Summit received LEED credit for using regional materials in the building’s construction. Concrete, stone and brick were transported to the building site from a radius of less than 500 miles.
Grand Prairie’s Public Safety Building qualified for LEED Silver Status. This facility shares a park site with The Summit. Bioswale design in the parking lot pre-treats storm water runoff before it runs into area waterways. Low flow plumbing fixtures and water-efficient, landscaping also add to the facility’s green features. Windows in the Public Safety Building allow natural light, reducing the need for artificial lighting during the day. Glass on the building is stepped on the southern side to shade direct light and the building is oriented on an east-west axis to optimize solar exposure.
"The Summit and Public Safety Building share open space and lakes on the site that qualify the buildings for LEED status," said Stephen Springs, a principal at Brinkley Sargent Architects, design firm for the facilities. "Both buildings have white, reflective roofing and parking for hybrid and carpool vehicles. The buildings qualify as cyclist-friendly facilities because of their locker rooms and bike racks."
The Summit is located at 2975 Esplanade and the Public Safety Building is located at 1525 Arkansas Lane.