Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites

Hike-Inn Gains National Recognition
David Freedman, P.E., Chief Engineer
Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Member, Board of Directors, Atlanta
Chapter – U.S. Green Building Council

What do the Hike-Inn, Emory University, Hines Interests, and the General Services Administration all have in common. They are the only Georgia participants in the LEED Existing Buildings (EB) Pilot program. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and it is a program sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council. The Council is the nation’s foremost coalition of leaders from across the building industry working to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable, and healthy places to live and work. The LEED Green Building Rating System is a voluntary, consensus based national standard for developing high performance sustainable buildings.

The LEED Existing Buildings or EB is a pilot program to develop a set of performance standards for the sustainable operation of existing buildings. There are over 70 buildings nationwide in this program including the Hike-Inn. The LEED EB rating system addresses such items as whole-building cleaning and maintenance issues including chemical use, ongoing indoor air quality, energy efficiency, water efficiency, recycling programs and facilities, exterior maintenance programs, and systems upgrades to meet green building energy, water, indoor air quality and lighting performance standards. As can be seen from the list of criteria, the designers and operators of the Hike-Inn had these considerations in mind before LEED was even developed. It is therefore a natural fit for the Hike-Inn to participate in the LEED EB Pilot Program.

Participation in LEED EB requires a significant amount of documentation. In order to accomplish this a team of professionals from varying backgrounds met at the Hike-Inn to study the facility. This team included the author; Jack Weeks, Department of Natural Resources Landscape Architect; Joe Martin, National Parks Service Architect; Teresa Shifett and Suzanne Burns with the Department of Natural Resources’ Pollution Prevention Assistance Division (P2AD); and Dagmar Epsten and Sandra Estrada, architects with The Epsten Group, architects and LEED consultants. The LEED EB team worked very closely with and received tremendous support from Heather McKee, Meredith Hill, and Eric Graves of the Hike-Inn staff. Teresa Shiflett of P2AD who also serves on the LEED EB committee will be producing the final documentation to send to the U.S. Green Building Council.

The LEED EB Program consists of a scorecard where points are received in different categories. The categories include sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and accredited professional points. Based on the point total different levels of certification can be achieved from the minimum certification to the highest-level of platinum. The Hike-Inn is expected to fall into the gold category, slightly below platinum.

The benefits of this program are many. It gives the Hike-Inn national recognition and demonstrates the DNR’s commitment to sustainability, conservation, and resource protection. It also provides the Hike-Inn an opportunity to further its environmental education and outreach program by setting an example with respect to sustainability. Most importantly it sets standards and guidelines for the environmentally responsible operation and maintenance of the facility for years to come. Thanks to all those that have contributed to this important process.

Hike Inn
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