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Energy, Environment

Unique Features of the New Bush Presidential Center

The George W. Bush Presidential Center was dedicated in a formal opening ceremony on Thursday, April 25, 2013.

George W. Bush Presidential Center (at night, photo courtesy of the Bush Presidential Center)

George W. Bush Presidential Center (at night, photo courtesy of the Bush Presidential Center)

In attendance were President Obama, guest of honor – President George W. Bush, and Presidents Jimmy Carter and George Herbert Walker Bush. The wife of each president was also in attendance. The center is home to the Bush Presidential Library and Museum, and the Bush Institute. 

Architectural Rendering w/Landscape Design (photo courtesy Bush Presidential Center)

Architectural Rendering w/Landscape Design (photo courtesy Bush Presidential Center)

The center’s 226,000-square-foot building and 15-acre urban park reside on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. It is the 13th presidential library and museum that has been built. By far it is the largest and most expensive. This is in keeping with the saying, “everything is bigger in Texas.”

About a month earlier, the George W. Bush Presidential Center achieved Platinum Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program [Ref 1]. It is the first presidential library/center to achieve platinum level certification as a new construction project.

The LEED building certification program encourages the use of designs, materials and systems that are sustainable, energy efficient and reduce a facility’s impact on the environment and human health.  One of the unique aspects of this project was the site development and restoration of habitat.  Seventy (70) percent (17.6 acres) of the site was replanted with native habitat. Materials were used with a minimum Solar Reflective Index (SRI) of 29 that is effective in reducing the heat island effect of commercial projects.

A Great American Moment, 04.25.2014 (photo courtesy of Paul Morse for the Bush Presidential Center)

 All construction materials are from recycled products and emit little or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which helps maintain healthy indoor air quality levels. A large portion of the materials were manufactured and/or purchased from regional areas. Water efficiency was also a large part of the construction. The facility reduced water usage by 40 percent. Landscaping is also water efficient with native plants and water conserving irrigation systems.

The center was designed with energy efficiency in mind. It has green roof systems, solar hot water systems, and a solar photovoltaic system. Some of the unique energy efficient design components include: [Ref 1, 2]

·        Green roof systems 1,550 square feet in three areas, reducing cooling and heating demands.

·        Solar hot water system: 2,500 square feet of panels with 1,800 gallons storage capacity supplies 100 percent of the Bush Center’s domestic hot water.

·        Solar photovoltaic system: 19,000 square feet of panels capable of generating 164 kilowatts or 9.5 percent of the Bush Center’s energy demand.

·        High performance, low iron insulated glazing units to reduce heating and cooling loads.

·        High efficiency HVAC systems to reduce energy demand.

·        Deep exterior overhangs to shade Bush Center building.

If you don’t have a car, or don’t want to wrestle with traffic, alternative transportation modes [Ref 2] add to the center’s design. The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) rail and bus service is located near the facility and there are designated parking spaces for low-emission, fuel-efficient, and carpool automobiles, making alternate transportation to and from the facility easy to achieve.

George and Laura Bush (photo courtesy The Bush Presidential Center)

President and Mrs. Bush founded the Bush Center to continue their work expanding freedom at home and around the globe.  Built with private donations, the Bush Presidential Library and Museum opens to the public on May 1, 2013. More than $500 million was raised for this project. The center is housed on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX.

References:

1. Earning LEED Certification, http://www.bushcenter.org/sites/default/files/BushCenter-LEED.pdf

2. George W. Bush Presidential Center Obtained LEED platinum certification, Environmental Protection Online, http://eponline.com/articles/2013/04/25/george-w-bush-presidential-center-obtained-leed-platinum-certification.aspx

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About Vi Brown

Vi is principal and CEO of Prophecy Consulting Group, LLC, an Arizona firm that provides business and engineering services to private and public clients. Prior to establishing her consulting practice in 2001, Vi worked with Motorola, Maricopa County Government, Pacific Gas & Electric, CH2M Hill, and Procter & Gamble. As an adjunct faculty member, Vi teaches undergraduate calculus classes and graduate level environmental courses. She is also a professional speaker.

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