The U.S. Green Building Council has awarded the Park District of Oak Park’s Environmental Education Center in Austin Gardens Platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification for its commitment to environmental sustainability.
The building, designed by Oak Park architect Tom Bassett-Dilley, opened in 2016 and includes a geothermal heating and cooling system and rooftop solar panels, making the structure a so-called net-zero facility, according to a park district press release.
The park district notes that the facility’s roof has 250 “plant modules” that produce oxygen and lower the roof’s heat. The building also harvests rainwater, and its wood trim is made of milled ash trees removed from Rehm Park that were infected with Emerald Ash Borer disease.
The Environmental Education Center is the park district’s hub for nature-based programming.