Van Buren Senior Activity Center has been certified by the U.S. Green Building Council as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) structure.

With the assistance of Viridian, the building was awarded a certified level of certification under the LEED for new construction rating system.

The Van Buren Senior Activity Center was designed by MAHG Architects Inc. of Fort Smith and constructed by Crawford Construction of Van Buren. Viridian provided LEED consulting, fundamental and enhanced commissioning, energy modeling and indoor air quality testing services.

The senior center at Knox and Lafayette streets is one of four projects funded by a 1 percent sales tax that Van Buren voters approved in July 2012. A new police station and a fourth fire station also are completed with improvements to the city park system underway.

The center is an approximately 12,300-square-foot, multi-functional facility, serving as a community resource for Van Buren residents. The facility includes a large cafeteria and kitchen, an exercise room, computer room, library, quilting room, pool room and offices as well as a community storm shelter on the east side of the building.

Carrie Scott is the director of the center which prepares an in-house lunch Monday through Friday as well as the Meals on Wheels program.

Michael Lejong, principal and project architect with MAHG, pointed out the senior activity center is the second LEED certified project the firm has designed. The first was King Elementary School.

“We hope that sustainable buildings become the standard the Van Buren community,” Lejong said. “Making these initial investments in design and construction of sustainable facilities will pay dividends for your citizens, both young and old, for years to come.”

LEED is a voluntary third-party verified green building rating system that addresses the site, water, energy, materials, and indoor environmental quality of the facility.

“The LEED certification of the Van Buren Senior Activity Center is a direct result of the hard work and dedication of all members of the project team,” said Meredith Hendricks, sustainability project manager at Viridian. “The City of Van Buren should be commended for their outstanding commitment to the community by creating a healthy facility and improving the local environment all with an efficient use of resources.”

The LEED certification of the Senior Activity Center was based on achievements that have a positive impact on the facility itself, its employees, and the broader community. Some of these achievements include:

• Thirty percent reduction of potable water due to efficient shower, faucet, toilet, and urinal fixtures.

• Sixteen percent energy efficiency improvement. These savings can be attributed to efficient interior and exterior lighting, improved HVAC systems, building upgrades and efficient hot water heating.

• To provide for continued energy and operational efficiency, all of the energy systems have undergone fundamental and enhanced commissioning. This process prevents the excessive use of energy while reducing Greenhouse emissions.

• More than 90 percent of the total waste generated during construction of the Van Buren Senior Activity Center was diverted away from landfills, allowing for the recovery of recyclable and reusable materials.

• Of the materials used in construction, more than 10 percent contained recycled content and at least 10 percent were both extracted and manufactured from within 500 miles of the project site.

• Preferred parking spaces and a preferred drop-off location for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles were implemented to help minimize pollution associated with traditional automobile use.

• Interior paints and coatings, adhesives and sealants, and flooring systems contained minimal or no Volatile Organic Content.

“With each new LEED-certified building, we get one step closer to USGBC’s vision of a sustainable built environment within a generation,” said Rick Federizzi, President, CEO and founding chair of U.S. Green Building Council. “As the newest member of the LEED family of green buildings, the Van Buren Senior Activity Center is an important addition to the growing strength of the green building movement.”