U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer visited the George W. Presidential Center in Dallas on Monday to present an award for the environmentally friendly design of the building and grounds.
Former first lady Laura Bush, who led the centers' design committee, accepted the framed certificate from Boxer on behalf of the center located on the campus of Southern Methodist University. Bush gave Boxer a tour of the center's green features, including the park behind the center that recreates a Texas prairie.
"I'm really excited to get to show her this and to show everyone this. I think it's important to have this kind of park on a college campus so young people can see how you can landscape in a very beautiful way with native plants that don't require much water," Bush said.
Boxer, a Democrat from California, announced last week that the inaugural Climate Hero Award from the U.S. Senate Climate Change Clearinghouse, which she co-chairs, is going to the Bush center and the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Ark. Boxer plans to visit the Clinton center later this year.
Both libraries have achieved the highest certification -- platinum -- from the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, program.
"This is a remarkable experience, to be here, to see what they have done and to look at how hard it really is, as the first lady was saying, to get this kind of a designation, this platinum. It's not easy," said Boxer, who chairs the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
The Bush center, which includes the Republican president's library and museum, in addition to his policy institute, was dedicated in April.
"I'm just thrilled to be here," Boxer said before her tour of the park. "At this point, when there's so much acrimony in Washington, I jumped at the chance to be here because when we informed the library that we were giving this award they were thrilled and they said `Would you come out?"'
"When you pursue energy efficiency, it is such a win-win. It is not ideological. You save money on your building in the long run. Yes, there's upfront money, but then you get It back over time," Boxer said.