The Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center has earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification for its innovative environmental design and sustainable features.
Opened last October, the MSEEC is a collection of relatively small buildings built on pilings to minimize impact on the surrounding wetland. Environmentally friendly features include green roofs, rain gardens, "passive" ventilation that conserves energy and recycled building materials.
The education center is the city's first LEED-certified project and one of only eight LEED-certified projects in Bellevue. It's the first gold-level LEED project in the city -- one of only 53 gold-certified projects statewide.
"This award reflects our city's long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship and we should all be proud of this environmental treasure that will be enjoyed for generations to come," Mayor Grant Degginger said.
The U.S. Green Building Council established the LEED program to be a national standard for high-performance, sustainable buildings that focus on water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor air quality. LEED ratings include certified, bronze, silver, gold and platinum levels.
Located at 1625 118th Ave. SE, the education center serves as a gateway to the 320-acre Mercer Slough Nature Park. In collaboration with the city, Pacific Science Center provides hands-on, science-based, environmental education for youth and families at the center. The city provides environmental interpretive programs for adults and families.
Jones & Jones Architects and Landscape Architects designed the campus of nine structures nestled on a wooded hillside. Berschauer Phillips Construction Company constructed the buildings. The MSEEC partners and design team were committed to developing a project that would be environmentally responsible, promote environmental stewardship and connect the community and environment.
The center has been supported by many community partners including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, King County Parks -- Recreation and Open Space Fund, Washington State, Puget Sound Energy, the Boeing Company, Microsoft, Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Tagney Jones Family Foundation and the Master Builders Association of King & Snohomish Counties.
In addition to the LEED gold certification, the MSEEC has received state and regional awards. Since it opened, the center has already served more than 18,228 visitors and program participants.
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