LEED Certified Venues
Opened in 2006, the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center (GEHC) was Gwinnett County's first green building. Green or sustainable buildings embrace the practice of creating healthier and more resource-efficient models of construction, operation, and maintenance. GEHC has gold-level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The LEED Green Building Rating System® is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings.
The facility's design incorporates new, robust technology to support the advanced electronic, multi-media components. The design utilizes locally harvested materials and numerous energy-and-water saving strategies that serve as a working model of ecologically sensitive site management.
As a result of the facility's sustainable design strategies, there is:
- No additional stormwater runoff
- Improved indoor air quality
- 35% energy-use reduction
- 50% water-use reduction
- Demonstration of best management practices
Some of the most important LEED features of the GEHC building include:
- A beautiful Water feature has been designed to span a dry ravine in which a cascading water feature functions like a heat exchanger and is an integral part of the building's mechanical system. In lieu of using potable water, the water feature uses the non-potable, but very clean reuse water, pumped in from the nearby water treatment facility. This feature saves an estimated one million gallons of potable water annually.
- GEHC's sloped, vegetative, or Green roof, the first in Gwinnett County, reduces stormwater runoff and mitigates the heat island effect. The roof is planted with drought-resistant, low-growing sedum, which eliminates the need for irrigation. It is one of the largest sloped vegetative roofs in the southeast.
- GEHC's pervious paving, bio-swales, and wetlands are used throughout the campus to allow ground water recharge and minimize stormwater runoff. This reduces the impact on Gwinnett's storm sewers and lessens the volume of surface water runoff during heavy rain conditions. Stormwater runoff is also directed to vegetated, man-made, bio-swales and constructed wetlands that help contain surface runoff on site, and control pollutants that may enter our rivers, lakes, and streams.
- Natural daylight is used as much as possible to reduce energy costs. All public spaces are lit with natural light; artificial light is used to maximize natural light, while minimizing the discomfort of glare. These include high windows with Southern overhangs, east- and west-facing glass with deep vertical shading devices, and clerestory windows that let natural light into the deepest interior spaces.
GEHC LEED Building Tours are available at the Environmental & Heritage Center, Monday-Saturday, summer months only.