Forest Hills Fine Arts Center LEEDS the Way in Responsible Design
Behind the dramatic concrete and glass façade of the Forest Hills Fine Arts Center lies a heart of…green. Continuing a tradition of environmental responsibility and stewardship established with the creation of the Goodwillie Environmental School in 2001, the state-of-the-art Fine Arts Center is the fourth Forest Hills Public Schools facility to meet the stringent criteria of the United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification program. The Fine Arts Center is the first public facility of its type to receive LEED certification in the U.S.Since its introduction in 1999, the highly respected LEED system has become the international standard for assessing buildings for energy efficiency and their impact on the environment. The painstaking certification process addresses critical issues in site and building design; mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems; materials selection; and construction methods; to ensure energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly results. The principles set forth by LEED guidelines were incorporated in the planning and design of the Forest Hills Fine Arts Center, and observed with care throughout its construction, to shape a cost-effective facility in perfect harmony with its natural surroundings.
The long list of details that distinguish the Fine Arts Center as green may not be obvious at first glance. The steel, concrete, and glass that form its shell all contain recycled content, and more than half of the wood products used in its construction came from forests that observe Forest Stewardship Council guidelines. Specially formulated adhesives, sealants, paints, and carpets won’t compromise indoor air quality, and carbon dioxide monitors designed into the mechanical system assure that fresh air levels are maintained throughout the building. Unlike most auditoriums, the airflow for the theatre is provided from the floor as opposed to the ceiling, creating energy savings and a quieter, more comfortable environment. Special plumbing fixtures promote water conservation, while outside, oversized green islands in the parking lot collect rainwater, control run-off, and provide natural filtration of groundwater.