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West Hawaii Civic Center is awarded LEED Silver status


(Photo courtesy of The Mayor's Office)

The West Hawai‘i Civic Center (WHCC) has been awarded LEED Silver status by the U.S. Green Building Council for its environmentally efficient structures and grounds.

The 80,000-square-foot WHCC was designed by Richard Matsunaga and Associates and built by Maryl Pacific Construction Inc. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Enviornmental Design, verifies environmental performance, occupant health, and financial return of buildings. It was established by the U.S. Green Building Council as an incentive to economically design and construct buildings that protect and save precious resources.

For a building to achieve LEED certification, its construction must meet criteria in six performance standards: a sustainable site, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design.

“This tremendous achievement underscores county government’s commitment to sustainability,” said Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi. “We are proud to receive this certification from USGBC as it shows that we are leading by example in our quest to reduce our carbon footprint and create a more environmentally friendly Hawai‘i Island.”

WHCC buildings are designed to control thermal comfort and lighting, with systems to reduce heat gain and energy consumption throughout the complex. Other items implemented to meet the LEED certification include water efficient landscaping, a zero-waste policy, use of recycled and certified wood products, bicycle parking, and electric car charge stations. A construction waste management plan to divert waste away from landfills was also implemented during construction of the center.

A highlight of the LEED certification is the 250-kilowatt photovoltaic system atop the center’s parking structure. This system is the first phase of the goal, to achieve Maximum Renewable Energy and Zero Carbon Emissions.
This photovoltaic system, first of its kind for government facilities in the State of Hawai‘i, provides 100 percent solar energy during the majority of the day. The system saves taxpayers $50,000 a year in electricity cost and generates 400,000 kW hours of electricity, displacing 770 barrels of oil a year.

It is the first “Feed-in-Tariff’” project on Island of Hawai‘i, sending excess energy through the day to the utility grid for compensation. It is also the first county government power purchase agreement, which means that no public funds were used to install the $1.8 million developer-owned structure. The system provides renewable infrastructure for electric vehicles, and the panels provide shade for parked vehicles.

When opened in January 2011, WHCC implemented its Zero Waste Program, diverting nearly all of its solid waste from the landfill with its “Blue Bin” mixed recycling bins to divert paper, plastics and metals. Employees also use on-site composting bins to divert food scraps and green waste. HI-5 and office equipment collections take care of e-waste, batteries, ink/toner cartridges and other recyclable materials.

“We have successfully demonstrated that zero waste is possible,” said Mayor Kenoi. “But this was only possible with the cooperation of our valued county workers, who want to see such a program succeed.”

The $50 million West Hawai‘i Civic Center offers residents a community center, an amphitheatre, services from 15 county agencies, a Mayor’s Office, County Council Chambers, and an Office of the County Clerk. On a seven-acre parcel at the intersection of Ane Keohokālole Highway and Kealakehe Parkway in North Kona, WHCC was completed in December 2010 and agencies and departments began moving in during January 2011.

The U.S. Green Building Council is a nonprofit membership organization whose vision is a sustainable built environment within a generation. Its membership includes corporations, builders, universities, government agencies, and other nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit

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