By: Linda Smithe, RA, LEED AP BD+C
Project Manager, The Spinnaker Group
Exciting news for travelers on the Florida Turnpike, the Service Plazas are going Green!
There are 7 Turnpike Service Plazas either Certified or in the process of submitting to the Green Building Certification Institute for the United States Green Building Council’s LEED Certification. This is a great way to enhance the State of Florida’s image with travelers from around the country and the world.
The plazas include; Okahumpka, Pompano Beach, Fort Pierce, Fort Drum, Canoe Creek, West Palm Beach, and Turkey Lake. Each service plaza is unique. There are different themes and colors for each plaza.
The sustainable features started at the beginning of construction with the remediation and rehabilitation of the damaged sites. If there had been leaking fuel tanks present they were removed along with any contaminated soils. Demolition waste was recycled as well as construction waste. Some of the sustainable features for the sites include: reserved parking adjacent to the handicapped spaces for low emitting fuel efficient vehicles and carpool vehicles, the truck area is all concrete pavement reducing solar heat gain, and native and adaptive landscaping reduces the water required to irrigate. The buildings have installed a high solar reflective roof, walk off mats to keep dirt out, and designated smoking areas away from the building entrances. The rest rooms all provide dual flush fixtures, and low flow faucets as well as super efficient hand dryers. The mechanical and lighting systems reduce energy consumption by 21-25% compared to a typical building.
Recycling the trash from a traveler’s last stop is convenient, right at the fueling station. Many of the materials used to build the service plazas were either regional, had recycled content or both. Of course all interior finishes are low or no VOC content.
Innovative concepts implemented at the plazas include exemplary water use reduction, exemplary open space, a public education outreach program, and a truly unique feature free tire inflation stations. Who doesn’t appreciate a free tire refill? Now when you stop at a Turnpike Service plaza to fill your tank you can fill your tires too. So you can go further on that tank of gas you just purchased. This reduces your carbon foot print as you drive away from the plaza and continue your travels.
Drive safe and sustainably!