Jamaica Bay and the Rockaways

The Daily Plant : Wednesday, October 6, 2004


Demonstrating a firm commitment to the environment, Parks & Recreation is embarking on the first capital project designed to meet standards recently set forth by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Architects and Landscape Architects at the Olmsted Center are seeking Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification for the new community center in development for Marine Park, Brooklyn.

"Commissioner Benepe has directed us to make Parks & Recreation the greenest of green agencies," said Amy Freitag, Deputy Commissioner for Capital Projects. "The LEED certification of the Marine Park Community Center marks a watershed in our architecture program toward an environmentally conscious design aesthetic."

The project will provide the community with a new circular building to replace the existing boxy WPA-era Field House. The new building will contain a large room for community programming and facilities for Parks Maintenance & Operations’ new district headquarters. The structure will be built to comply with "The LEED Green Building Rating System,® a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings."

The LEED Certification process was devised by the USGBC "to distinguish building projects that have demonstrated a commitment to sustainability by meeting the highest performance standards". Projects registered at the beginning stages of design can qualify for regular certification or silver, gold or platinum certification based on the percentage of requirements, out of a 69 point checklist, with which they comply. The checklist is broken down into categories that assess the sustainability of the landscape surrounding the structure, water efficiency, use of energy, impact on the atmosphere, indoor environmental quality, and innovation in the design process. The LEED rating system was developed and intended primarily to evaluate commercial buildings. Since this administration’s landscape design policy has always advocated green design, it was logical to work towards certification for a new public building in a park.

To attain their goal of silver certification for the Marine Park project, designers will need to satisfy 33 to 38 of the listed requirements. To this end, they are creatively conceiving ways to incorporate green elements such as a vegetated roof, which will absorb rainwater and reduce the volume of runoff that can contribute to overwhelming the sewer system. The heating and air-conditioning system will be engineered with geothermal loops that tap into the aquifer underground and circulate groundwater that remains consistently at around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, efficiently modulating the temperature in the building at a comfortable level in all seasons. Photovoltaic panels on the roof will capture solar energy and covert it into electricity. Structural and decorative materials made from recycled content will also be used.

Parks & Recreation’s own Landscape Architect Paul Rube, who just received his professional LEED accreditation, a team of his colleagues, and private consultants are in the initial stages of this exciting project. Director of Architecture Bruce Eisenberg looks forward to "bringing sustainable design into our parks. It is the first of many to come."

Written by Adrian Sas



"Green comes from blue, but it surpasses blue."

Chinese Proverb

Directions to Jamaica Bay and the Rockaways

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