LEED Silver Retrofit An Army Morale Booster

Reception Station Barracks on Sand Hill, part of the Fort Benning Army Base in Georgia, has undergone a construction transformation that has bought it from pre-World War II times into the new millennium. The change has also resulted in a silver medal. The two buildings that make up Reception Station, part of the complex for the 30th Adjutant General Battalion, were recently awarded a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver award.

The 300,000-square-foot complex includes a new headquarters, a dining facility and a soldier community center. Some of the green elements of the new barracks include: low-water usage plumbing systems, motion-sensor lights with timers, private showers and rain-collection areas outside. Recycle bins are also housed on each floor of the building. Outside the building, soldiers can find bicycle racks.

image via US Army

“This is a truly significant achievement,” Peter Lukken, the garrison’s strategic sustainability planner said of the changes. “A tremendous amount of engineering expertise and modernization efforts went into the construction of those barracks, as well as the entire complex. It’s going to produce some major benefits for us in the long run as we continue pursuing our energy conservation initiatives.”

While many Army buildings similar to this one are up to LEED certification standards, it might become harder for them to be certified as such. In this case, the certification came because the construction company involved, Balfour Beatty Construction, initiated the process. A recent Department of Defense Funding bill that we reported on earlier is making it more complicated  for the military to pursue high-level LEED certifications for its buildings.

That’s too bad considering this comment from Capt. Krystal Morris, commander of the battalion’s Fitness Training Unit at the newly revamped Reception Station Barracks. “Theirs were like old World War II barracks. Being in this great new facility makes our entire process simpler, and it lightens morale as well. We have it really good here. It’s really improved our ability to accomplish the mission.”

Kristy Hessman is a writer and native Oregonian who currently resides in California. Before starting her own company, she worked as a reporter covering business and politics for daily newspapers and The Associated Press.