What could become the United States’ first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certified embassy is now taking shape in Finland. The US embassy in Helsinki is undergoing a $115 million renovation that could make it the most highly certified LEED US embassy in the world.
The project, which is taking place at the current embassy site in the Kaivopuisto district of Helsinki, is estimated to be completed in 2014. The new building is expected to greatly reduce the building’s carbon footprint and set an example for future investments in energy efficiency projects.
The design for the building is being done by American architects, but in line with LEED standards, U.S. Ambassador to Finland, Bruce Oreck has said the materials will be sourced locally from within Finland. In a press conference unveiling the new plans, Oreck said, “The design will reflect Finland’s deep respect for nature and underscore the friendship and cooperation between our two countries.”
Last year, Finland’s embassy on Washington D.C.’s “Embassy Row” was awarded a LEED gold certification for its energy efficient design. The building was retrofitted to cut half of its energy consumption and 65 percent of its gas usage. It was the first embassy in the U.S. to be awarded that certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.