More Green Shelter Design: Friends For Life in Houston Opens LEED Certified No Kill Animal Shelter

Sat, Jul 14, 2012

Animal Welfare, Green Design

After writing about the grand opening of Harmony House for Cats’ new eco-friendly cat shelter in Chicago, I received an email from a Moderncat reader letting me know about another amazing green animal shelter. Friends For Life in Houston, Texas recently opened the Don Sanders Adoption Center, the only LEED certified no kill animal shelter in Texas.

The new adoption center includes a welcoming lobby area, an education and training room, meet and greet rooms for adoptable dogs (they are fostered in family homes and brought to the center only for adoption events), and several incredible cat habitat rooms, where the cats in FFL’s care enjoy beautiful surroundings while waiting to be adopted.

The principal architects on the project were from the Houston office of the progressive Gensler architecture firm. FFL also consulted with Animal Arts from Boulder, Colorado, an architecture firm specializing in the design of some of the most spectacular, award-winning animal care facilities.

Clearly, the design team took into careful consideration the needs all who would be using the space — both animal and human. According to the FFL website:

“Our goal was to create a space that is truly animal-friendly from the animals’ point of view. Their sense of smell and hearing are much more acute than ours. They are generally stressed just to be in a shelter environment to begin with. The fact that we know them at all means something has already gone wrong in their lives. It is our task, in part, to provide as stress-free, healthy and interesting an environment as possible. The Don Sanders Adoption Center is adopter/visitor friendly and follows the highest standards of shelter management.”

In addition to installing a state-of-the-art in-wall wet vac cleaning system for sanitizing the rooms, the air purification system is top notch. The system brings in 100% fresh air from outside, completely turning over the air in each room 15 times an hour. The building’s design brings natural sunlight into every single animal room and every human workspace, plus a professional acoustician was hired to plan the sound environment throughout the facility.

The cat habitats are large cageless playrooms with 19 foot ceilings. Each room is outfitted with streamlined modern furniture and built-in elements that allow the cats to climb and perch in comfort, while making it easy for shelter workers to keep things neat and clean. The rooms are equipped with a slat-wall system that allows shelves and perches to be re-positioned as needed. FFL has a special room devoted to senior cats, as well as a feline leukemia positive kitty room and a kitten nursery.

If you’re ever in Houston, please make it a point to stop by Friends For Life to see this incredible new adoption center.

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8 Responses to “More Green Shelter Design: Friends For Life in Houston Opens LEED Certified No Kill Animal Shelter”

  1. 1
    ihavecat

    I LOVE THIS!!!! i want to make this happen to ALL shelter! how amazing!!

  2. 2
    reb

    This is awesome news, but you should also acknowledge the the Austin Animal Center. It opened in November and is LEED gold certified. http://www.sws.ci.austin.tx.us/news/city-austin-opens-new-state-art-animal-center.

    We are a municipal shelter, and as such, euthanasia is sometimes on the table (for example, when our rescue partners are too full to pull animals from us), however we have maintained a 90% live outcome rate or greater for over a year now. The 10% that don’t leave the shelter alive include animals who are too ill to treat or too aggressive to rehome. So while we’re technically probably not no-kill, we’re maintaining no-kill standards.

  3. 3
    Karen

    That is the most spectacular thing I’ve every seen. Now this is what a shelter should be.

  4. 4
    Glogirly and Katie

    This is one of the COOLEST things I’ve ever seen!!!
    Love, love, love it!!!
    : )

  5. 5
    jmuhj

    WOW. If you’re a cat in Houston and you can’t be in your loving, forever home (yet), THIS would be the place to be, most definitely. Love everything about it, particularly the skylighting and the fact that they brought in an expert to plan the acoustics. As someone extremely sound-sensitive, I know cats are even more desirous of quiet than I am. Good for these caring folks for taking that into consideration!

  6. 6
    Blanca and Solo

    This is incredible!!! It has to be heaven for every kitty that steps paw in that facility!! Smart, efficient, sanitary, and SO modern!!

  7. 7
    Teresa

    Awesome planning geared towards being a comfortable waiting place for their forever home. BRAVO, for humanity moving forward to becoming humane with our fellow creatures that share our amazing world.

  8. 8
    Tara

    Friends For Life is a beautiful shelter. We visited this shelter for the first time a few months ago to make a donation drop. We were quite impressed with the design of the building, and the staff. The place is filled with natural sunlight from every angle! It’s quite amazing to see such a bright and airy facility. The ‘tenants’ seemed so at ease, peaceful in their surroundings. Great place for these beautiful animals, until they find their forever homes…..


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