Partnership Helps Visitor Education Center Achieve Gold LEED Certification
Yellowstone National Park, Wyo., August 25, 2010 - - Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS) and the Yellowstone Park Foundation celebrated the grand opening of the brand-new Old Faithful Visitor Education Center (OFVEC) today at Yellowstone National Park. The new OFVEC is the first national park visitor center to earn Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Toyota engineers partnered with Yellowstone to provide guidance on LEED building construction and design. The engineers shared the knowledge gained from the 2003 construction of Toyota’s Gold LEED certified office complex at TMS Headquarters in Torrance, Calif. At the time, it was the largest environmentally friendly commercial building in the country. Toyota also provided a one million dollar gift to the Yellowstone Park Foundation for OFVEC construction.
“This is part of Toyota’s overall commitment to environmental education and sustainable development,” said Jim Lentz, TMS president and chief operating officer. “The new Old Faithful Visitor Education Center will be a symbol of sustainability and provide environmental education opportunities for over three million visitors a year.”
A few green features of the new 26,000-square-foot OFVEC include:
• use of recycled and renewable building materials
• design that allows for a reduced heating space during winter months
• low flow plumbing
• state-of-the-art lighting, insulation and climate control systems to reduce energy consumption
The OFVEC features hands-on, state-of-the-art exhibits that interpret Yellowstone’s volcanic and geothermal science, and enhance visitor understanding of the ecosystem
and natural resources protected by Yellowstone. The facility also provides additional learning opportunities including a library, classroom space for learning programs, and a theater to view Yellowstone educational films.
“Yellowstone, and every park visitor, has greatly benefited from our partnership with Toyota,” said Karen Bates Kress, president of the Yellowstone Park Foundation. “Their generous support not only made the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center possible, but also helped us make the building a model of eco-friendly design and function.”
Toyota’s relationship with the U.S. National Park Service began in 2003, with the donation of four Prius hybrid vehicles to Yellowstone for interpretive rangers and park visitor services. In celebration of Toyota’s 50th anniversary in the U.S., Toyota established the Leadership in Environmental Awareness for the Future (LEAF) program, a $5 million grant to enhance environmental leadership across the country and build the next generation of environmental stewards. Five national parks – Yellowstone, Everglades, Great Smokies, Grand Canyon and Yosemite – received grant funding as well as more than 20 hybrid vehicle donations.