Kudos to the George W. Bush Presidential Center for achieving LEED-Platinum (for new construction), the first presidential center to do so.
It is ironic, however, that this is for a president with perhaps the worst record on the environment.
Another irony is that the opening day chosen is April 25, "Mission Accomplished" day, when he announced the US had won the war against Iraq just six weeks after it started.
The Presidential Center has three facilities in one large building: George W. Bush Library and Museum and George W. Bush Institute, an independent think tank. It's on 23 acres on the Southern Methodist University campus in Dallas, Texas.
Features include a green roof (to cut heating and cooling demands), solar for 100% of hot water and solar PV for 10% of electricity. Building materials were sourced within 500 miles.
For the first two years, the Presidential Center is purchasing 100% wind energy from Green Mountain Energy to offset energy demand the building doesn't produce.
Located in the heart of Dallas, landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh restored 15 acres of native prairie - it has 90 varieties of native wildflowers and grasses and captured rainwater will meet half its irrigation needs.
The entire site is more than 70% planted with more than 900 trees, about half of which were transplanted from the Bushes' Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas.
Regionally sourced building materials include Texas Cordova cream limestone, Permian sea coral limestone, pecan wood interior paneling, and Texas mesquite hardwood floors.
Designed by New York architect Robert A.M. Stern, he "cleverly hid its great bulk by wedging it into its sloping site, so that from the front entrance one sees only a fraction of its true size. This also has the salutary effect of burying much of the necessarily windowless space required for archival storage," says Dallas News.
"The Bush Center and our ongoing work are a reflection of the principles that guided President and Mrs. Bush in their public service, including their longstanding commitment to conservation and caring for the land," says Mark Langdale, president of the George W. Bush Foundation.
Not quite true, says the Daily Green:
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.'s book Crimes Against Nature details how Bush skewed US environmental laws in favor of industry and filled regulatory agencies with former lobbyists and corporate executives.
He rolled back laws (and stymied enforcement) on air pollution, standards for arsenic in drinking water, pushed to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other federal lands to oil drilling, promoted mountaintop removal coal mining, stepped up logging on public lands, slashed support for family planning around the world, fought against fuel economy and other efficiency standards and deliberately dragged his heels on the issue of climate change. The Bush administration distorted government science, even omitting sentences from scientists in global warming documents.
But Bush did show environmental sensitivity in his personal life. His ranch runs on geothermal and captures rainwater, he removed invasive plants and maintains a native landscape at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.