Getting a Green Workout

Liberty Center, certified by the U.S. Green Building Council as a LEED Silver green building, with snow-capped Black Mountain in the background.I got to the gym a little late yesterday and it was already dark outside. After checking in at the desk at Sun City Anthem’s Liberty Center, I headed for the locker room. As I opened the door, the lights were out and it was pitch black inside. It wasn’t that late and the place was not closing down. The lights had been shut off automatically by a sensor that had not detected anyone in the room for several minutes. I smiled at the reminder that this was a LEED certified facility. Energy efficiency is part of its DNA. After one step through the door, the lights came on, acknowledging my arrival.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a voluntary green building rating system developed by the non-profit U.S. Green Building Council. An internationally-recognized system, LEED provides third-party verification of building performance in energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. It is transforming the construction industry on a global scale, helping to improve the environment while reducing building and maintenance costs as well.

In December, Liberty Center was officially certified as a LEED Silver facility. It is not only the first facility of its kind in Nevada, but also in the U.S.Sunrise from Liberty Center.There are a handful of other public and corporate recreational facilities around the country that are LEED certified, but Sun City Anthem’s is the first private community recreation center to achieve it. Liberty Center is a perfect complement to this community of very efficient Energy Star-rated homes. It represents responsible development and planetary stewardship.

Nestled in the foothills of Black Mountain near the edge of the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area, the center has some good views of the nearby mountains and of the Las Vegas valley. The green aspects of the project begin with desert landscaping on the nearly eight acre site, which is also designed to absorb excess water, reducing storm water runoff into other parts of the neighborhood. The parking lot acknowledges green residents by reserving a few spaces for those who have invested in a clean fuel vehicle (a high-miles-per-gallon hybrid for example). The building’s design includes an attractive serrated roof line that incorporates day lighting strategies and provides lots of southern exposure for harvesting solar energy.

A nice slideshow with photos of the facility and some of the folks responsible for Liberty Center. Thanks to Sun City Anthem for making it available.

As mentioned earlier, occupancy sensors reduce energy use, complimenting the roof-mounted photovoltaic array that produces about 10 kilowatts of clean, renewable energy. Energy efficient lighting fixtures and CO2 sensors (that help maintain just the right balance of fresh air) also contribute to energy savings.

Liberty Center is a multi-purpose recreational facility that features an outdoor pool and spa, plus two indoor pools; a large one for swimming laps and a smaller, warmer therapeutic pool often used for exercise classes. It takes a lot of energy to keep the water at a comfortable temperature. Much of that energy is provided by the sun, thanks to three rows of panels that harvest thermal energy from sunrise to sunset.

Since energy has become a matter of national security, I can’t think of anything more patriotic than the aptly-named Liberty Center!

Green living is all about responsibility. It’s an attitude that acknowledges and respects all forms of life, present and future, as we learn to live lighter on the planet. It’s great that this Nevada community, already noted for energy efficient homes, has taken another step toward building a sustainable future. In the long run, this kind of vision and leadership provides ample returns in the form of better health for its residents, value to the community, an improved environment as well as operational savings. And, since energy has become a matter of national security, I can’t think of anything more patriotic than the aptly-named Liberty Center!


  1. I just read this article in the RJ and really enjoyed it. Great photo too! It’s really good to see that communities like Sun City Anthem are doing the right thing. How cool that you even have some green parking spots! Thanks Steve.

  2. Thank you for raising peoples’ awareness. And “Bravo” to Sun City Anthem for leading the way in conserving energy and showing that you can have all the amenities and still be responsible. I hope others follow their example.

  3. Thank you for such a great and informative article. Building “green” in 2011 is the same as planning for heat, running water and air conditioning was in the last century. Hopefully this is the first of many other green facilities. We all need to do our part to live responsibly on our planet.

  4. Very nice site!

  5. hey mr. green jeans —

    what a treat, at 1:00 AM EDT, to read this article.

    “It represents responsible development and planetary stewardship.”

    what more can i type than the aforementioned words other than the images rock. las vegas is so much more than the “strip.”

    many thanks to you and marsala for the brilliant colored threads you wove in the tapestry of my soul while i dwelt as the mistress of the burning sands.

    ~ c