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Sustainable Design

LEED gold certification on ELC entryThe Sustainable Features of the Early Learning Center are designed to meet LEED Gold Certification requirements, and to:

  • Enhance the learning and working environment
  • Reduce energy consumption
  • Improve indoor air quality

These are just a few of the items on the "Sustainable Design Benefits" checklist for TCC's Early Learning Center, which opened in October 2008.

Designed to meet LEED Gold certification requirements, the Early Learning Center's sustainable design features include 30 percent water use reduction, optimal energy performance, and 75 percent diversion of construction waste materials.

The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program, administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, endeavors to set standards for sustainable building practices. Depending on the number of sustainability features incorporated into design and construction, projects attain one of three certification levels: silver, gold, or platinum. Washington state law mandates LEED Silver certification for all publicly funded buildings. "You submit your criteria points to the committee, they evaluate your submittal and decide if you made the criteria," explains TCC Capital Projects Director Clint Steele.

Designer, McGranahan Architects of Tacoma, used skylights and clerestory windows to provide natural lighting to 75 percent of the Early Learning Center's interior. A "non-heat island roof" employs light-colored roofing materials to reflect radiant heat from the sun. In-slab radiant heat will, however, be used to warm the floors for little crawling people. Natural ventilation will occur as air is brought in through a low wall intake and exhausted high on an opposite wall. "All of these features reduce your need for HVAC," explains Steele.

The new Early Learning Center celebrated its grand opening October 21, 2008.

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