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"LEED-ing" the Way

SEPTA's Fox Chase Regional Rail Station recently reached a transportation milestone-it is the nation's first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certified train station, honored by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

The USGBC's LEED certification system recognizes the environmental impact of new building and major renovation projects and points are awarded to projects for the types of materials used, energy efficiency, waste recycling and other eco-friendly construction practices. LEED ratings are Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Fox Chase Station was awarded LEED Silver using the USGBC's LEED for New Construction rating system.

"When we started the project, we were aiming for LEED Certified. However, as the project progressed we saw systems we could put in place and design features we could implement to achieve LEED Silver," said SEPTA Senior Project Manager Thomas Carl.

To earn LEED points, numerous eco-friendly processes were implemented throughout planning, design and building phases. For example, 96 percent of construction waste materials, such as drywall, were either recycled or reused. Forty percent of building products used were extracted and manufactured within 500 miles of the station, thus reducing the amount of emissions of trucks transporting materials to the project site. Low-pollutant emitting building materials, such as adhesives, sealants, paint and coatings were also used in construction.

The completed station has energy efficient Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) and lighting systems and the high-efficiency plumbing fixtures and faucets reduce potable water use by approximately 100,000 gallons per year. The entirely smoke-free facility also features receptacles for recycling papers, cans and bottles and has 15 parking spots designated specifically for energy efficient vehicles, like hybrids.

In all, Fox Chase Station earned 53 out of a possible 59 points needed for LEED Silver status. For the complete breakdown of points awarded, click here.

The $1.1 million Fox Chase Station (funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) was designed by HNTB and built by Shared Systems Technology, under the direction of Mike McCorkle. SEPTA engineers Brian Fey and Ray Cox and Brian Alessi of The Sheward Partnership, LLC, managed the LEED portion of the project, including submitting the required, detailed application.

"LEED means leadership, which our team demonstrated throughout the design and construction of the station," said Carl. "Our engineers took LEED management training and stayed on top of the entire process, which required inspections, submissions and reports throughout the project. The team's drive made the LEED Silver certification possible."

Although the station's completion was celebrated at a May ribbon cutting, it doesn't mean the LEED certification process is over.

"We still need to make monthly reports to the USGBC in order to maintain the Silver status," said Carl. "With such a dedicated SEPTA team, I know we will be able to maintain this distinction."

It's official--SEPTA's Fox Chase Station is America's first LEED Silver train station.

Among the station's eco-friendly features are energy efficient HVAC and lighting systems and parking designated for energy efficient cars.

Fox Chase Station is located at 434 Rhawn Street and Elberon Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia.

SEPTA GM Joseph Casey (far right) and local officials celebrated the new station in May 2011.