Twenty years in the making, Círculo’s dream of building a community center finally became a reality when the organization obtained a $15 million loan through a bond issue from the Town of Hempstead Industrial Development Agency in collaboration with Non-Profit Preferred Funding. The center, which opened in January 2010, in Hempstead, New York, is the first nonprofit organization to have achieved Gold status by the U.S. Green Building Council in New York State.
Designed as a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) or “green” building, the center is an historic example of green technology. This green initiative supports Círculo’s mission to improve the lives of individuals and families by reducing energy usage and helping individuals become stewards of the earth and its resources.
What makes Círculo Center Green?
A green or LEED facility is one that encompasses a holistic approach to building. From the design of the facility, to the choice of materials used in the building, being green means incorporating healthy products and construction practices that promote sustainable development and help to reduce energy usage and save resources of the planet.
There are many components that make up five essential elements of green building. These include:
- Sustainable Sites
- Water Efficiency
- Energy and Atmosphere
- Materials and Resources
- Indoor Environmental Quality
Circulo’s facility has been built minimizing impact on existing ecosystems. It uses regional plants for its landscape that will further eliminate the use of irrigations systems for maintenance. It promotes green friendly transportation choices.
The facility has also incorporated components to control stormwater runoff and has engaged in practices to minimize soil erosion. The roof of the building is designed as a white roof which helps to minimize heat island effect. Lights chosen for the facility help to reduce light pollution in the area.
The Círculo Center has been designed to reduce the use of water. There are many water saving features in the building. The landscape of the building is one that does not require irrigation. It incorporates the use of native plants to reduce the need for an irrigation system that uses potable water.
There are also efficient appliances including water faucets and toilet features that allow an individual to adjust the amount of water needed for waste elimination. The building also features waterless urinals, another feature to reduce the use of potable water. These elements help to contribute to the water efficiency of the building.
Energy & Atmosphere
The design of the Círculo Center and the items used in the center promote efficient energy usage and clean sources of energy. There are light savings features that include sensor monitors to reduce the use of energy for light fixtures. The heating system and cooling system for the building are energy efficient as well.
Materials and Resources
Círculo made an effort to use materials and resources that are regional to Long Island, greater NYC and New England. Use of regional materials helps to reduce energy expenditures in transportation of products.
Círculo also engaged in recycling of materials throughout the construction process and monitored these levels. Job waste was sorted and if it could be used again it was recycled. Materials in the building itself including tiles used in lobbies and other areas were recycled from other jobs.
These are just some of the examples of how Círculo’s facility has reduced its consumption of materials and resources.
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Indoor Environmental Quality:
The building was designed to accommodate the needs of the occupants. Classrooms were built with southern exposures allowing for maximum light. The facility also was designed to ensure for healthy air quality. Products used in the building help to ensure healthy air quality. For example paints and glues used in the building meet with LEED requirements and help to improve the overall air quality by limiting the amount of toxins in the air.