Laura Bush Boasts: Bush Presidential Library Is 'Green and Sustainable'

By Melanie Arter | April 25, 2013 | 5:08pm EDT

George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum (AP Photo)

( When the George W. Bush Presidential Library Center was unveiled Thursday, it became the first presidential library to open with a platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

“Like our new era, the building and its grounds are designed to be forward-looking. They’re green and sustainable. They celebrate the native environment of our home state of Texas,” former first lady Laura Bush said at the dedication ceremony in Dallas, Texas, on the campus of Southern Methodist University, her alma mater.

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“The archives housed here are completely digital, and the entire Bush center is designed to present the past and engage the future,” she added.

In terms of energy efficiency, the building includes 1,550 square feet of green roof systems in three areas, which reduces cooling and heating demands. It has a solar hot water system that supplies 100 percent of the center’s domestic hot water using 2,500 square feet of panels with 1,800 gallons of storage capacity.

It includes a solar photovoltaic system with 19,000 square feet of panels, capable of generating 164 kilowatts or 9.5 percent of the 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; and deep exterior overhangs to shade the building.

Even former President Bill Clinton, whose own presidential library received a platinum LEED certification years after opening, congratulated Bush for achieving such a rating before it was officially opened.

“I want to take my hat off to President Bush. This is a beautiful library. The exhibits are great. The work of the Bush Institute is inspiring, and I congratulate him on the platinum LEEDs rating for his library,” Clinton said during the ceremony.

“I think this is the second building in the entire federal system that has it, and I want to say Mr. President, once again, you got the better of me twice in the last few weeks. My library has a platinum LEEDs rating, but it was open for a few years before we could afford to achieve it,” Clinton added.

In terms of construction and materials, the George W. Bush Presidential Library Center used 20 percent recycled materials, with the majority of construction waste diverted from landfills. They also used low VOC-emitting products and finishes to maintain high indoor air quality.

They used regionally sourced materials such as: 150 miles of Texas Cordova cream limestone walls, trim and coping; 150 miles of Permian sea coral limestone water table from near the Bushes’ hometown of Midland, Texas; 150 miles of Lueders paving; under 500 miles of Burlington blend brick; 200 miles of Texas mesquite hard wood floors; 200 miles of stained pecan interior paneling; and 100 miles of trees from central Texas.

In terms of site development, landscapers restored habitat by planting more than 70 percent of the site (17.6 acres). They reduced the “heat island” effect by using materials with a Solar Reflective Index of at least 29.

The center’s landscaping is also water efficient. It has a 252,000 gallon irrigation cistern for pre-treating rain water before storage. Storage of rain water meets 50 percent of the site’s irrigation demands, and it has native plants, which requires less water than non-native species.

The site is located near public transportation, near the Dallas Area Rapid Transit light rail and bus service. There is even parking designated for low-emission, fuel-efficient and carpool vehicles.

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