The Don Sanders Adoption Center at Friends For Life in Houston, Texas is the only LEED certified, no kill animal shelter in Texas. Built according to rigorous LEED green standards, the shelter values the environment as well as the lives of the companion animals they serve.

The adoption center, built in 2012, 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 fully catified 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 rooms are large cageless playrooms with 19 foot ceilings. Each room is outfitted with streamlined modern furniture and built-in catification 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 adoption center.