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New Monticello Visitor Center Earns Gold Certification

November 4, 2009

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. – The Thomas Jefferson Foundation has been awarded LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for the Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center and Smith Education Center at Monticello.

The Monticello facility, which had its grand opening in April 2009, is the first visitor center at a World Heritage site in the United States and one of only five visitor centers in the country to earn LEED Gold certification, the second-highest level that can be attained.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a voluntary, nationally recognized standard that supports and recognizes environmentally sound practices in building design, construction, and operations.

“As we face today's biggest challenges – economic uncertainty, environmental and human health threats, and global climate change – green building once again offers solutions that combine scientific and technological breakthroughs with our best ideas from the past," said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO, and founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council.

Located on the lower slope of Monticello mountain, the Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center and Smith Education Center comprises five pavilions set in a “pinwheel” around a central courtyard. The three-level complex follows the contour of its hillside setting and blends into the wooded landscape.

The center’s sustainable elements include a geothermal heating and cooling system; two “green” roofs; the extensive use of locally sourced and sustainably produced building materials; energy-efficient elements such as double-glazed windows and louvered blinds; advanced storm water removal; water and energy conservation measures; enhanced wastewater treatment; and recycling protocols.

The center was designed by Ayers/Saint/Gross, an architecture and design firm headquartered in Baltimore. The construction manager was Barton Malow Company, a construction management and general contracting firm headquartered in Southfield, Mich.


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