On June 2, 2012, Houston became home to the only LEED certified No Kill animal shelter in Texas, the Don Sanders Adoption Center.
The prestigious and progressive Gensler firm here in Houston were the principal architects on this project. The architects were not just brilliant architects but animal lovers with a real heart for this project. Prior to and during construction, we consulted with LEED experts and nationally renowned shelter design experts including the incredible team at Animal Arts in Boulder, Colorado, an architecture firm that exclusively designs animal care facilities. They are responsible for some of the most beautiful, forward-thinking and environmentally friendly shelters in the United States.
Care has been taken with every detail of the building. We are bringing in 100% outside fresh air and turning over the air in each space completely 15 times an hour. We have made certain that sunlight reaches every animal (and staff) workspace and even engaged a professional acoustician from the beginning to ensure that we manage the sound for everyone's comfort.
Our shelter features a state of the art in wall wet vac cleaning system that makes the dirty and smelly drain/hose system used by every other shelter in town obsolete. Those systems simply aerosolize fecal matter, use a ton of water and the drains are not just dirty but a true health and safety hazard. Like so much of the FFL program, we are leading the way for shelters to become what they should be by incorporating forward-thinking design and practice. This cleaning system enables us to maintain a cleaner and safer shelter than the old drain/hose systems. The FFL system is also energy and water efficient and uses a cleaning solution that is 100% safe for the animals but deadly for bacteria and viruses.
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.
The cat habitats are large cageless playrooms with 19 foot ceilings that house cats in sunlight and comfort. We have devoted a room to our senior kitties (as with people, it is the fastest growing population). There is also a leukemia-positive kitty room and a kitten nursery.
We've created a living room-like space for our dogs which has a homelike environment including couches, chairs, rugs and picture windows. Potential adopters have the opportunity to meet our dogs in a setting like their own home and the dogs are able to learn how to behave in a home environment.
Construction is complete and our shelter is open! Take a look at the pictures below and then plan a visit to come and see it in person. We think you'll agree that this is a shelter unlike any other! Be sure to click on each picture as the thumbnails don't show the entire picture.