The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority's (AAATA) Blake Transit Center in downtown Ann Arbor is now LEED Gold certified by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).
The popular third-party designation is given to buildings that meet criteria, as judged by a review committee, for conserving water and energy, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Opened in March 2014, the 12,000-square-foot, $8 million center features locally sourced build materials, as well as energy-saving lighting, heating and cooling, water, and snow-removal systems.
AAATA maintenance manager and Blake Transit Center project manager Terry Black says the construction and recent certification represents a tremendous group effort by AAATA, its project partners, and the community.
"TheRide is committed to helping achieve a more resource-efficient, just, and ecologically sustainable community," Black says. "We are conscious that, as our footprint in the community grows, we must also strive to grow sustainably."
Much of the center uses LED light fixtures, with light sensors controlling exterior lighting and motion sensors for office spaces that reduce electricity usage. The center's water system includes rainwater collection for nonpotable uses, including flushing toilets. The site also features a heated driveway and sidewalk to melt snow and reduce road salt discharged into the stormwater system.
Sustainability efforts extended beyond constructing the new building to getting rid of the old one. Black says metal and wood from the previous transit center were salvaged and reused when possible, and concrete was crushed into stone for future use.
"We established a proper procedure to ensure that all the materials from the old transit building were sent to a recycling facility, where they were sorted and separated to be repurposed accordingly," Black says. "These steps ensured that all the materials did not end up in a landfill, but rather, were reused as much as possible."
Eric Gallippo is an Ypsilanti-based freelance writer.
Photo courtesy of AAATA.