Austin, Texas — Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Central Texas Bennet-Rathgeber Mentoring Center has received an Austin Energy Green Building (AEGB) 3-Star rating; the Case Study has been published by AEGB. The facility is officially part of a nationally certified LEED Gold Neighborhood Development in Rathgeber Village, part of the larger redevelopment of the old Mueller Airport. The Mentoring Center is the new BBBS Texas headquarters, and the 21,000 sf two-story building quadruples the amount of space available to serve children and families.
Offering a healthy environment for staff, children and families was a priority during design, and is reflected in features like the prominent stairway, which enjoys maximum visibility and abundant natural light to encourage use and promote physical activity. A Youth Activity Center upstairs is a place for kids to play and relax during the week, and hosts community yoga classes on weekends. Indoor air quality benefits from low-emitting finishes, and incorporating gently used office furniture, which emits minimal off-gassing and supports fiscal and environmental sustainability goals.
During design and construction the team was cognizant to source materials that would limit the impact on the environment. Sustainable environmental and construction decisions include selection of 52% Texas-sourced, and 14% recycled building materials, such as native limestone and sandstone, for the hill country style building. 82% of construction waste was diverted for recycle or salvage, representing over 190 tons of potential landfill. Reclaimed water is a shared community resource in Rathgeber Village, used for irrigation, completely eliminating potable water usage outside.
O’Connell Robertson has enjoyed a meaningful, long-term relationship with BBBS, and is proud to be on the design team for this remarkable project, and the vision for sustainability that Rathgeber Village represents. The City of Austin created the nation’s first green building program in 1990. Austin Energy Green Building (AEGB) is now the nation’s most successful sustainable building program.