High 5 for Dubya
The George W. Bush Presidential Center may not officially open until May 1, but it's already earning accolades. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, an affiliate of the U.S. Green Building Council, has bestowed a Platinum certification on the center. It is the first presidential library to earn the honor for new construction.
"The Bush Center and our ongoing work are a reflection of the principles that guided President and Mrs. Bush in their public service, including their longstanding commitment to conservation and caring for the land," Mark Langdale, president of center, said in a statement.
To make the grade, the center employed regionally sourced building materials such as Texas Cordova cream limestone from Central Texas, Permian sea coral limestone, pecan wood interior paneling, and Texas mesquite hardwood floors.
Officials said the center also features "green roofing systems to reduce heating and cooling demands; solar panels for producing electricity and hot water; building materials sourced from the region to lower transportation impacts; and rainwater recycling that will meet 50 percent of the irrigation needs of the native Texas landscaping."
LEED certification requires sustainable, energy-efficient materials that have a minimal impact on the environment and human health. The center, which encompasses more than 225,000 square feet, is surrounded by a 15-acre nature park replete with prairie landscaping and a wildflower meadow.
After two-plus years of construction, the center is just weeks away from the official grand opening ceremony. The University Park facilities are located near SMU's entrance and include a library, museum, presidential archives and public policy institute.
In Bush Center-related news, there's still no word on the survival of a recent bill by Rep. Dan Branch (R-Dallas) that would re-christen a 7-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 75 as President George W. Bush Expressway. An online petition against the bill now has more than 18,400 signatures.