Our organization’s goal of achieving LEED Certification for our Golden Valley office building was noted in the Golden Valley City News, in their November / December 2008 edition.

We have set for ourselves the goal of achieving Leadership in Energy & Environmental Development (LEED) certification, which we will accomplish, in a years’ time, if our building meets a set of criteria as an environmentally friendly building, which conserves energy usage and minimizes waste of any kind.  Currently, there are only a handful of commercial buildings in Minnesota that are LEED certified.  As an organization, we felt that it was important to be a role model and leader in the community.  More information about LEED certification may be found here: LEED certification.

The article in the Golden Valley City News may be found on page 3 of the publication at:

The text reads as follows:

LEED Comes to GV

By early next year, Golden Valley could (have) another “green” building when a property at 9400 Golden Valley Road meets LEED certification standards. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a rating system that encourages sustainable green building and development practices through the creation of universally accepted tools and criteria.

Owned by RHT Properties, the building is home to (Orion Associates,) Meridian Services, (Zenith Services and Orion ISO), interconnected social service agencies which provide services to people with physical and mental disabilities.

When the building was recently renovated due to growth and employee expansion, it gave RHT Properties an opportunity to seek LEED standards. But being LEED certified is more than just efficient air conditioning and weather-sealed windows.

 “It’s everything,” says Dr Rebecca Thomley, CEO of RHT Properties. “It’s top to bottom.  It’s what cleaning products we use, how we use the kitchen, what kind of toilet paper we have, motion lights, education.”

There were several different reasons to get LEED certified, says Thomley.

“We believe strongly in being connected to the community and giving back,” she says.  “Being a leader in the community also means you recognize the importance of the environment.”

The decision was also personal, she adds. Thomley’s father died due to a rare form of leukemia caused by chemical agents in working environments. “How can I ask anyone to work in a building I don’t know is as safe as I can make it using today’s technology?”

LEED sets the bar high for what buildings have to do to meet green standards, says Golden Valley City Planner Joe Hogeboom. Only a handful of buildings in the state have been LEED certified, and they’re generally much larger than the building at 9400 Golden Valley Road.

LEED certification level (basic, silver, gold, and platinum) depends on the comprehensive nature of the renovation. To meet platinum standards, RHT would have to tear down and rebuild from scratch, Thomley says. So instead, they’re shooting for a silver, possibly gold, certification. Renovation is already complete, but LEED certification takes a year’s worth of data gathering.

While few buildings meet LEED standards, that’s not to say it won’t be or hasn’t been considered by other developments in Golden Valley, including residential buildings, Hogeboom says. Environmental sustainability is a growing concern among builders. Furthermore, a lot of buildings have and will try to build “green,” even if they don’t meet LEED standards, he adds.

For more information, contact Hogeboom at 763-593-8099.

LEED Certification Tips from the Natural Resources Defense Council:

    • Set a clear environmental target.  Aim for a LEED certification level and settle on a firm overall budget.
    • Engineer for Life Cycle Value.  Examine green investments in terms of how they will affect expenses over the life of the building, not just initial costs
  • Hire LEED-accredited professionals.  Thousands of building industry professionals around the country have a demonstrated knowledge of green buildings and the LEED rating system and process.
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