Last Updated: Jan 8th, 2015 - 07:42:25

Fort Lee goes green with LEED gold certification
By Sarah Steele Wilson, Newsroom Editor
Dec 21, 2012, 14:06

photo by Sarah Steele Wilson Gregory Williams, John Karafa, 1st Lt. Andrew Ganshorn, Brig. Gen. Stephen Farmen, Col. Rodney Edge and CSM Allen Offord with LEED plaque.

The Army is green in more than just the uniforms it wears. It’s also green in its buildings.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification program, or LEED, is one of the best known innovations of the U.S. Green Building Council, or USGBC, which describes itself as a non-profit organization dedicated to sustainable building design and construction.

The LEED program aims to provide a framework for identifying and implementing green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions, the USGBC states on its website.

“The USGBC works to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, comfortable and healthy places to live and work,” said Gregory Williams, Director of Public Works at Fort Lee at a Thursday morning ceremony to unveil the LEED Gold certification plaque the post’s 508th Transportation Company Facility earned.

Although LEED silver certification is the standard for Army construction projects, some contractors go further, constructing facilities to meet the LEED gold standard, the second highest level of certification in the program.

“This is a commitment above and beyond the contractual requirements for a government contractor,” Williams said.

The $4.14 million 508th Transportation Company Facility was constructed by the Williamsburg based LEEBCOR Services, LLC, a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business. The company also constructed the Air Force/Navy Dining Facility, the first Fort Lee building to earn a gold rating.

In order to achieve the high rating, the 508th building was constructed with low emitting adhesive, sealant, paint, coating and carpet materials and with 10 percent recycled building materials. Over 20 percent of the building materials were manufactured and sourced for locations within 500 miles of Fort Lee and 75 percent of debris associated with the project was diverted from landfills and incinerators.

The building is also designed to optimize energy performance, operating with a 31 percent improvement over the baseline standard, and use 30 percent less water than the baseline calculated for the facility.

“In short, LEED buildings are designed to lower operating costs, reduce waste sent to land fills, conserve energy and water, create healthier and safer spaces and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Williams said. “In other words, LEED certification helps the Army save green, money, and helps the Army be green, environmentally friendly.”

Williams commended LEEBCOR for putting forward the extra effort and money to achieve a higher certification standard, and pledged that the Fort Lee Directorate of Public Works will continue to work with its partners to provide “state of the art, environmentally friendly facilities in an effort to give our soldiers every possible advantage.”
photo by Sarah Steele Wilson Col. Rodney Edge, Brig. Gen. Stephen Farmen and CSM Allen Offord cut the cake.

After an award presentation with John Karafa, president and principal owner of LEEBCOR, Brig. Gen. Stephen E. Farmen, Chief of Transportation and commandant of the Transportation School, took the opportunity to issue a challenge to the leaders and soldiers who use the facility.

“The soldiers and the leadership in the 508th are now challenged to live up to what the LEED standard means,” he said. “It’s not just a building. It’s about the people in it.”

He said that trying to live up to the high standards set by the building fits in with the current strategy that guides the Transportation Corps and the entire Army.

“We are working hard every day to try and figure out how to reduce our logistics footprint in operational energy and all those kinds of things,” he said. “We’re trying to do that better as an Army.”

Farmen added that service members who use the building are accustomed to being part of something larger than themselves, something he said was also crucial to LEED program.

“We serve something bigger than ourselves every day, and that’s what LEED is all about,” he said. “It’s about taking it a step further, not just in terms of serving our country but globablly, what’s the right thing to do to take care of our planet.”

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