LEED Gold Certification
The Vegas PBS Educational Technology Campus, a $60 million, environmentally efficient powerhouse in the Mojave Desert, received LEED Gold certification, becoming the first television building in the United States to receive LEED Gold status.
“This building was the result of endless hours put in by a countless number of individuals,” said Vegas PBS General Manager Tom Axtell. “Achieving the first LEED Gold certified television building in the country is truly a dream come true and we hope that other television stations throughout the country will follow our lead.”
LEED certification is gained through a formal evaluation process in which an organization must submit information on all green aspects of a building to the U.S. Green Building Council. The Vegas PBS Educational Technology Campus was evaluated in the categories of sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality and innovation and design process.
Planning for the Educational Technology Campus began in 1999 following the Federal Communications Commission’s order to transition to digital broadcasting. During the planning process Axtell saw that a green, eco-friendly design would be a necessary component to ensure the building had low operating costs and respected the desert environment of the Las Vegas region. The design team set out to create an environmentally efficient project by applying "best practices" recommended by leading standards organizations.
During a recent visit to the Educational Technology Campus, PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger praised the organization’s efforts in green building and use of new technologies.
The eco-friendly Educational Technology Campus showcases a variety of green technologies, including the largest rooftop installation of solar panels in the state of Nevada and a geothermal /ground source heat pump cooling system using 202 wells that average 425 feet deep. Other green elements include lead-free and recyclable electronics, concrete rather than traditional asphalt in the parking lot to reduce the heat-island effect, extensive water conservation and rainwater harvesting features, furnishings that dramatically reduce off-gassing of toxic chemicals, and sustainable flooring coverings that are agriculturally based.
In addition to following the U.S. Green Building Council’s guidelines to receive LEED Gold status, the Educational Technology Campus is also built to conform to the European Union's Restriction of Hazardous Substances and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment standards. These standards mandate designs that require low heat generation and high levels of energy efficiency, ban the use of certain toxic chemicals and mandate ease of disassembly for recycling at the end of product life. Additional product certifications include GREENGUARD, Forest Sustainability Council, C2C McDonough-Braungart Design Criteria, and International Dark-Sky Association.
The 112,000-square-foot building is home to Vegas PBS’ operations, production services and emergency alert efforts. Additionally, the building houses the Clark County School District’s (CCSD) Virtual High School facilities, which focus on distance online education. The building was funded through a private/public partnership. Las Vegas architect JMA designed the building and Las Vegas contractors Martin-Harris Construction oversaw construction.