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HVNP emergency center earns LEED Platinum certification

The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Visitor Emergency Operations Center.

The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Visitor Emergency Operations Center. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Baron Sekiya)


The Visitor Emergency Operations Center (VEOC) that opened in February at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has been awarded a LEED Platinum Level of Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.

The Platinum Level is LEED’s highest accolade and Hawaii Volcanoes’ new VEOC center is the seventh building in the state to achieve the prestigious top-tier ranking, and the only federal building listed as Platinum Level.

National Park Service design and building standards have always leaned towards sustainability. The LEED green building certification challenges all of us to exceed that standard.

“We are extremely honored to receive this caliber of an award for such a vital structure,” said Cindy Orlando, superintendent of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. “The VEOC was funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the entire building process from start to finish was thoughtfully planned out. This building demonstrates our continuing commitment to be climate friendly.”

Hawaii Volcanoes’ new Visitor Emergency Operations Center achieved energy certification for lighting, energy use, water and material use, as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies.

The 4,896-square-foot emergency operations center consolidates visitor services and resource protection operations. The LEED certification was based on a number of green design and construction features that positively impact the project itself and the broader community, including:

* 47 photovoltaic panels that generate power for the entire building

* A large percentage of building materials were reused or recycled from the previous structure

* Automated light switches that sense human presence and shut on and off automatically

* A refracting light tube system that utilizes sunlight to illuminate the interior and exterior

* All paint, furniture, wall lockers, flooring and window treatments are made with low-volatile organic compounds

* Water supplied by a filtered rainwater catchment system

* Trees removed from the construction site were used as support posts for the building

The building was designed by the Honolulu-based Mason Architect Inc. and constructed by the local Keaau firm Heartwood Pacific Their attention to detail resulted in this award-winning building.

“This project was an amazing journey from start to finish, with a lot of documentation to back up every facet of its design,” Orlando said.

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