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U.S. Capitol Visitor Center "Green Features"

The Capitol's East Front Plaza and adjacent grounds are home to 85 new trees that were planted during the construction of the Capitol Visitor Center.

The Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) was designed to incorporate as many green features as possible within the constraints of its unique requirements. The CVC design has been faithful to the initiatives established by the Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, which is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings.

A few of the CVC's specific green features include:

  • Built below an existing parking lot, the CVC is a "redevelopment" of an urban site which has not increased the amount of hard surfaces relative to run-off.
  • A greener East Capitol Grounds, literally, when compared to the pre-CVC landscape. A total of 85 new trees were planted to replace the 68 trees that were removed and help to recreate the historical views envisioned in Frederick Law Olmsted’s original landscape plan of 1874.
  • A stormwater management system was incorporated into the design to mitigate the impact of run-off and sediment into the city's storm sewer system.
  • Air-side Economizer Systems use outside air for cooling in lieu of chilled water when outdoor temperatures are 60 degrees and below.
  • Compact fluorescent fixtures used wherever possible and light fixture occupancy sensors provided.
  • Low-flow bathroom fixtures in all restrooms.
  • Automatic faucets and toilets.
  • Use of low-emitting construction materials including paints, solvents and carpets.
  • More than 50% of construction waste by weight was recycled.

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