You might not be the biggest fan of swindler Bernie Madoff, but at least he is supporting the green building movement by serving out his prison sentence in the U.S.’s only LEED-certified correctional facility. Not that he has a choice. In fact, word on the street is that Madoff didn’t actually want to go all the way to Butner, North Carolina where the green jail is located, requesting a stay at Otisville which is only 70 miles away from his hometown in Queens instead. While we don’t have much sympathy for him, we are pretty interested in what his daily life will be like.
Although Butner Federal Prison, which was awarded LEED certification way back in 2005, may not have been Madoff’s first choice, it does have some wonderful sustainable features. Some of the green design aspects of the project, which was completed by Moseley Architects in cahoots with with Hensel/Phelps, include: bicycle storage, alternative fuel refueling stations, storm water management, lavatories, showers and sinks with low-flow plumbing fixtures and the use of green cleaning products in the facility. Mr. Madoff might even be contributing to the greenness of his prison by participating in sustainable xeriscaping while he’s there (he should be able to get the hang of it in 150 years). When he is not landscaping, he will get to hang out in the recreation yard, in the library, or even watch TV – as long as the programs are rated PG-13 or lower.
No one really seems to know why Madoff was sent to Butner (it may have just been a coincidence) but it’s also possible that the powers that be planned it that way to get some buzz going for green prisons. Whatever the case, we hope the news sparks some other jails to hop on the LEED bandwagon because it’s a bit crazy that after four years, Butner is still the only LEED-certified one in the nation.