The visitor center at Dinosaur National Monument received Gold LEED rating Thursday. The certification nationally recognizes a structure’s environmentally sustainable design.
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, was developed through the U.S. Green Building Council. Buildings must meet certain environmental standards to achieve the certification.
The new visitor center uses solar panels as just one feature to reduce its environmental impact. Dan Johnson, head of visitor services at Dinosaur National Monument, says sustainability is key to determining the level of certification for these types of buildings.
“A lot of that is actually using components in the building process that are considered green technology or sustainable design so that it minimizes environmental impacts,” he says.
Dinosaur National Monument’s visitor center was funded through part of the stimulus package Congress approved in 2009. Johnson says environmental preservation is not the only goal.
“In addition to protecting the resources that are in the monuments, we also try to minimize our impact and use as much sustainable design as we can,” he says.
Other building features include: an old rail car used as a bridge, cedar from sustainable forests, and stone from local rock quarries.