A few weeks ago I shared a funny video in which the Queen of England was inquiring about the availability of a LEED for castles certification system. Today we’ll explore LEED certification for arks, as in Noah’s Ark. In early December, plans for The Ark Encounter were released, a Christian-themed amusement park that will be built with the environment in mind.

The Ark Encounter will be located in Petersburg, Kentucky and the organization behind the project, Answers in Genesis, has chosen a firm that specializes in green buildings and LEED certified projects to build the park. With an expected opening date sometime in 2014, the new eco-friendly Christian-themed amusement park will feature several environmental features including:

  • A rainwater capture system
  • Active and passive solar heating
  • Sustainable HVAC
  • High efficiency lighting
The new project is just part of a growing trend of environmentalism among religious groups, including evangelical Christians, despite the fact that some are self-proclaimed climate change skeptics. Mike Zovath, senior vice president of Answers in Genesis, is one such skeptic. In an article for The Washington Post, Zovath discusses his views on green building.
"There is a pretty significant return on investment," he says. But it's not just about financial return. It also has to do with how he defines stewardship, the responsibility for the Earth that Christians believe was given by God in several key verses of Genesis, especially 1:28.
"We are to be in dominion over everything that He created," Zovath says. "Not to waste it, not try to destroy it.”

Although it looks like environmentalism, at least from our perspective, some evangelicals shy away from the term. Instead, choosing to build an eco-friendly facility is just one part of creation care. To me, it doesn’t matter whether you call it environmentalism or creation care I just love seeing green building being embraced by new groups and organizations.

LEED for arks?
In a few years Kentucky may be home to the first LEED certified ark.