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Kim Gatley
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enior Vice President & Director of Research at REOC Austin

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Buildings surpass previous LEED certifications

As more Austin-area developments are looking to become LEED certified to reduce their impact on the environment, they are also moving up in their environmental certification.

Last week, a North Austin office development, which started construction in January, became gold LEED pre-certified as a result of its energy and water efficiency, use of local and recycled materials and the provision of facilities for bicycling commuters. Located at Oak Creek Drive and MoPac Expressway, Oak Creek Plaza is a Class A 50,000 square foot office building on four acres of land near the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s commuter rail. Real estate developers have figured out that developing LEED certified office buildings will not only be a benefit to the environment but will also make their buildings more attractive to tenants, especially those from the West Coast. Oak Creek Plaza is one of the first gold LEED certified projects in Austin and will be finished in October of this year.

In May, the Ronald McDonald House of Austin and Central Texas became platinum LEED certified as a result of its landscape architecture and rooftop solar panels that power at least half of the rooms and avoid 30,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually. Located at 1315 Barbara Jordan Boulevard and completed in 2007, this 28,500 square foot facility is the first solar-powered Ronald McDonald House in the world.

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