Vertegy Delivers Springfield, Ill., Landmark Park's First LEED Platinum Building

Erin's Pavilion, a welcome and visitor center built on the 80-acre site of the Edwin Watts Southwind Park in Springfield, Ill., recently earned LEED Platinum certification under the LEED for New Construction (LEED-NC) rating system.

The first and most visible of several buildings being constructed on one of the most accessible and sustainable planned parks in the country was recently recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council with the organization's highest level of LEED certification. Erin's Pavilion, a welcome and visitor center built on the 80-acre site of the Edwin Watts Southwind Park in Springfield, Ill., recently earned LEED Platinum certification under the LEED for New Construction (LEED-NC) rating system. The pavilion, which held its grand opening in May 2010, is a collaboration between St. Louis-based sustainability consulting firm Vertegy and Springfield, Ill.-based architecture firm Walton and Associates Architects, a division of The Walton Group.

Named in honor of community leader and primary benefactor Butch Elzea's daughter, who struggled with disabilities during her life, Erin's Pavilion serves as a community center and a special needs education center. The structure is designed to accommodate the needs of individuals with all levels of abilities and disabilities in a setting that incorporates a host of environmentally friendly features. The pavilion boasts more than 16,000 square feet of space, including an expansive terrace with panoramic views of the park's main pond. The facility includes a Grand Hall for visitor welcome and interaction, along with educational displays, offices and conference space for the Springfield Park District, over-sized public and family restrooms, private calming areas, small program rooms and a catering room. There is also a large 4,900-square-foot program space that can accommodate up to 500 people. The space is equipped to handle multi-media and all configurations of meetings and special events, and can be subdivided into four smaller spaces.

Specific sustainable features that helped Erin's Pavilion earn LEED Platinum certification include the incorporation of:
An inclusive stormwater plan that includes bioswales and a pond to manage runoff

Paving completed with a mixture of asphalt and concrete to minimize the heat island effect

Preferred parking for low-emitting or fuel-efficient vehicles and carpools, along with a shuttle system to provide access to the local bus system

Ultra water-efficient flush and flow fixtures, including 1.28 gallons per flush (gpf) water closets, pint urinals, and low-flow lavatory and kitchen fixtures

A highly efficient envelope utilizing insulated concrete forms

A mechanical system that includes geothermal loops that utilize the lake to heat and cool the building via 13 heat pumps

High-performance glazing, allowing for views to the outdoors and a comfortable level of natural daylight for the building's occupants, while positively affecting the energy efficiency of the building

A ventilation system incorporating an outdoor air delivery monitoring system

Recycled materials, including the diversion of more than 80 percent of the construction and demolition waste from the landfill by way of reuse and recycling centers

The project team followed a stringent no/low-emitting VOC policy and Construction Indoor Air Quality Management program during construction, using only no/low-emitting adhesives, sealants, paints coatings, carpet systems and composite woods. In addition, the Park District designed a plan to utilize native landscaping around the building, needing no permanent irrigation system on the building site. Signage of different green features throughout the facility is part of the comprehensive green building education program and a recycling plan for the building has been implemented. The team was also able to earn points toward the certification through the maximization of open space and optimization of energy performance.

"The Springfield Park District, along with the City of Springfield, should be commended for their commitment to healthier lifestyles and green building," said Thomas Taylor, general manager of Vertegy. "Erin's Pavilion serves as a springboard from which a variety of other sustainable features are being extended to the rest of the park, and we believe this to truly be a one-of-a-kind public space."

The Springfield Park District in Springfield, Ill. has developed Erin's Pavilion and the other buildings and spaces in the Edwin Watts Southwind Park with the goal of constructing one of the most accessible and sustainable parks ever built. The park will exhibit a multi-use design, providing year-round entertainment and recreation, education, unique water features, open green space and natural habitats, with complete accessibility for all ages and disabilities. Some of the additional features being incorporated into the Edwin Watts Southwind Park include fishing piers, a gazebo on the lake, a 2.5-mile urban trailway, a recreation center, the Springfield Children's Museum, an outdoor amphitheatre, three playgrounds and a game play area for bocce ball, shuffle board and horseshoes.

Erin's Pavilion is the 28th LEED certified facility in Vertegy's portfolio and the fifth LEED Platinum building that Vertegy has had a hand in. The firm also consulted on the highest ranked LEED-NCv2.2 Platinum facility, Holy Wisdom Monastery in Madison, Wis., as well as the William A. Kerr Family Foundation building, Alberici Corporate Headquarters and Crossroads College Preparatory School, all of which are located in St. Louis.

Founded in February 2005, Vertegy provides clients with design, procurement and construction consulting services for green and sustainable facilities. One of the key ways Vertegy serves clients is by helping them gain certification for their projects from various nationally and internationally recognized certification bodies, such as the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), which provides LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification. Vertegy which is derived from combining the Latin root for green and strategy is based in St. Louis at the LEED Platinum Alberici Corporate Headquarters. For more information, call 314.733.2666 or visit

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