By Staff Reports
(Hesperia) – Victor Valley Transit Authority this week earned the coveted Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The High Desert transit agency earned the award for the environmental-friendly design and construction of two separate buildings on its 10-acre facility.
Recognized worldwide for its green building certification system, LEED certifies that buildings use strategies to improve energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, indoor environmental quality, and ensure stewardship of resources.
“LEED Gold certification exemplifies the vision of VVTA leadership and the efficiency of the agency,” said VVTA Vice-Chair and Apple Valley Mayor Pro Tem Barb Stanton. “I find it amazing that VVTA staff went from working out of cramped offices with a gravel lot, one maintenance bay, and a Conex container converted to an office into this modern, sustainable facility with room to grow.”
VVTA moved into its 28,820-square-foot administration and operations building and 15,750-square-foot maintenance building in November 2011. For its innovative energy-saving and carbon-friendly construction, VVTA was also awarded the coveted Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District 2011/2012 Exemplar Award.
“VVTA Executive Director, Kevin Kane, along with a very supportive Board of Directors was the driving force behind the design and construction of this facility,” said Stanton. “In addition, it delivers significant energy savings.”
The centerpiece of the 10-acre facility is a 1-megawatt photovoltaic solar system, which produces in excess of 100 percent of the electricity used on the campus. The solar canopies double as shaded parking, reducing air conditioning cooling time during daytime bus start up. This also reduces fleet fuel use and emissions.
“The forethought that went into the facility is impressive,” said VVTA Director of Maintenance & Facilities Ron Zirges “With three years beneath our belt here, the intensive planning has paid off significantly. Operationally, the facility design has enabled us to streamline workflow and futureproof our growth up to two decades out.”
The administration and operations building ranked highest for its indoor environmental quality. As a sustainable site, it performed well in energy, atmosphere, innovation, and water efficiency categories. Both buildings received high marks for drought-resistant water conservation features due in part to a state-of-the-art underground storm water treatment and retention system. Combined, the buildings reduce potable water consumption for irrigation by more than 50 percent, using Xeriscaping, a landscaping technique that reduces the need for supplemental water.
Though not part of LEED certification, the fueling and bus wash complex has maximized sustainability by reducing and recycling wash water. Using reverse osmosis deionization to treat water, 80 percent of water used is recycled. The public CNG fueling station produces more fuel faster than similar sites. It employs a buffer system comprised of heavy duty compressors. Now, bus refueling averages only six to eight minutes each.
The administration building lighting system features motion detectors to reduce energy consumption during evening hours. Offices and hallways enlist rooftop solar tubes to harness natural light during daytime hours. Under-floor heating and ventilation enables air to flow through the work area rather than forcing it down from the ceilings.
More than 20 percent of building materials used in construction contain recycled content, while more than 50 percent of the wood used for construction is “sustainably harvested,” as defined by the Forest Stewardship Council.
LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED provides building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.
About Victor Valley Transit Authority
Victor Valley Transit Authority is a Public Transit Agency and Consolidated Transportation Services Agency, providing bus, ADA paratransit, vanpool, and commuter service to California’s High Desert. VVTA’s service area spans over 950 square miles, featuring daily service to Adelanto, Apple Valley, Barstow, Hesperia, Victorville and unincorporated San Bernardino County, including Dagget, Helendale, Hinkley, Lucerne Valley, Newberry Springs, Oro Grande, Phelan, Pinon Hills, Wrightwood and Yermo. Commuter service to United States Army Fort Irwin National Training Center (NTC) and lifeline service connecting the High Desert to the Inland Empire is provided weekdays. Additional information and service alerts may be found at VVTA.org, Facebook.com/OfficialVVTA, and Twitter.com/VVTransit.