On January 15th, the National Park Service held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new Science and Resource Management Building on the South Rim.
Superintendent Dave Uberuaga and other special guests dedicated the new state of the art facility, which is currently on track to receive platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED is a third party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings – platinum is the highest rating obtainable.
This facility is the twelfth LEED certified building in the National Park Service, three of which are at Grand Canyon, and only the sixth LEED platinum certified building in the National Park Service.
“We are committed to being a global leader in environmental sustainability,” said Uberuaga. “The building was designed with numerous energy efficient and sustainable design aspects that include passive solar design for natural heating and cooling, use of natural day light, use of materials high in recycled content, and a highly efficient heating and cooling system with a super insulated building envelope.”
Funding for many of the green features was made possible through the Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF), administered by the Grand Canyon Trust in partnership with Salt River Project and Tucson Electric Power. REIF grants provide matching funds for renewable energy and energy efficiency investments in public buildings, community centers, and residences located within reservation lands in northern Arizona and New Mexico. This project qualified under the public building component.
When open next month, the new building will have numerous displays and readily available scientific information and will be available and used as an outreach opportunity for the public, visitors from local and distant schools, and volunteers and researchers who are members of the scientific community.
This new 8,800-square-foot building includes 16 offices, 15 large and 21 small cubicle offices, a large conference and training room, two science labs, a weather station, and a visitor lobby.
Building design utilizes low flow fixtures, water efficient landscaping, solar energy through the use of photovoltaic panels, and rain and grey water collection. To maximize energy efficiency and reduce water usage, a secondary plumbing system was installed to collect rain and grey water for irrigation and use in disposal of wastewater saving up to 182,000 gallons of potable water per year and approximately 3,650 kWh (kilowatt-hours) of energy savings per year.
Solar panels will provide a viable source of onsite renewable energy that is expected to generate 5,300 kWh of energy savings per year. A new video display in the building’s lobby will show real-time solar power generation and use, as well as rain and grey water collection and use, helping to educate and inspire park visitors and residents to practice conservation and sustainable practices at home.