New Visitor Center at Lassen Volcanic National Park Expected to Receive Platinum Rating from the U.S. Green Building Council

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Date: September 26, 2008
Contact: Darlene M. Koontz, 530-595-4444 x5101

Lassen Volcanic National Park Superintendent Darlene M. Koontz is happy to announce that the park’s visitor center will open to the public on October 4 and is expected to receive the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) highest rating of “Platinum.” Visitors will see green in more places than in the park’s forests and meadows. The new visitor center has been green from its initial design through construction and into its operation -- now and will be long into our future.

The LEED certification assesses how the facility performs and the ways in which it meets environmental sustainability goals. Some of these include:

  • The native landscape planting design, includes species selection, placement and distribution is modeled on natural vegetation of the surrounding red fir forest. The plantings will require no irrigation and serve important ecological functions such as soil stabilization, improved fertility of disturbed soils, reduce likelihood for exotic species to establish in disturbed areas, and facilitate natural succession. 
  • Water conservation fixtures such as waterless urinals, dual flush and low flush toilets, and low flow faucets with photocell sensors reduce water consumption. 
  • Wood used in construction is from regional forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council for sustainability.
  • Building materials with recycled content and long life expectancies such as cement-based siding, 50-year roof shingles, and recycled content floor and wall tile, paint, carpet, and countertops have been used.
  • Lighting using no incandescent-based lamp fixtures is controlled by a daylight harvesting system, which dims lights when natural daylight provides enough light to meet all or part of the center’s lighting needs.
  • The roof’s eaves are designed to shade windows during summer months to prevent unwanted heat gain; during winter months when the sun angle is low, direct light will help heat the building.
  • Heating is provided through an efficient in-floor radiant system. The cooling system utilizes the earth as a heat sink through a water-to-water ground source heat pump system.
  • A photo-voltaic system located off-site and is dedicated to this building and generates 30-40% of its electricity during the year.
  • Indoor materials, furnishings, and cleaning products have been selected for a healthy building atmosphere for park visitors and staff

These are only a few of the sustainable design, construction, and operational practices incorporated into this center. The National Park Service is committed to demonstrate how these new technologies, products and practices can balance the needs for our visitors with resource efficiency and stewardship of the environment well beyond park boundaries.

Lassen Volcanic National Park will celebrate the grand opening of the park’s first year-round visitor center on October 4 with special activities and programs. The new Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center receives its name from the Mountain Maidu name for Lassen Peak which means "Snow Mountain." The new center will include: a staffed information desk, exhibit hall, auditorium for the new park film, bookstore, gift sales, food services, first aid room, restrooms, amphitheater, and an after hours backcountry registration and orientation vestibule.

For more information, please contact the park at (530) 595-4444, Monday through Friday, except holidays, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or visit the park website at

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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