The New York State Parks Taconic Regional Headquarters was recently awarded with a Platinum-level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. It is the first public building in New York state given this distinction.

The building was formerly the Staatsburgh School in Mills-Norrie State Park, located outside the city of Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The Platinum-level LEED certification — which is the highest level of certification for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings — was given by the U.S. Green Building Council, based in Washington, D.C.

Some of the factors that led to the certification included:

  • reuse of an existing building;
  • significant energy use savings;
  • increased ventilation rates;
  • new materials made from recycled content;
  • water-saving items such as low-flow sinks, dual-flow toilets and waterless urinals;
  • permeable pavement; and
  • redirecting (daylighting) a stream that had been diverted and restoring the stream bank.

The building was designed by New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation architectural and engineering staff, with consulting from engineering firm Barton and Loguidice. New York State Parks estimates that the Taconic Regional Headquarters uses 70 percent less energy than the average office building in the mid-Atlantic region.

“Investments in energy efficiency and sustainable building materials are the most cost-effective measures state agencies and local governments can make to control costs, reduce energy consumption and cut greenhouse gas emissions,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, in a statement.

The $7.9 million project was made possible in part by a $3 million gift from Dr. Lucy R. Waletzky, chair of the New York State Council of Parks.

“The renovation of the school house was a good example of a public-private partnership and now that [New York] State Parks are in such hard financial times, I’m hoping other private individuals will help financially support their park friends groups and larger park infrastructure,” Waletzky remarked in a press release.

A list of other LEED-certified buildings is available on the U.S. Green Building Council website.