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Green Building and LEED

The County is committed to reducing the environmental impact of our new building projects, and pursuing LEED certification whenever possible.

In 2011, the County adopted a Sustainability Plan with the goal to "strive to meet LEED standards for certification in new County buildings."

In May 2015 we opened our first LEED-certified building project, the Public Works and Zoning & Codes offices.   The Douglas County Public Works facility includes the following building attributes that contributed to our potential LEED Silver certification:

The Site:

  • The building has a bicycle rack with space for 7 bikes, and showering facilities – to encourage bicycle commuters.
  • The parking lot has 4 priority parking spots reserved for fuel-efficient or low-emitting vehicles. 
  • The site was developed in a manner that maximized open space and protected habitat by clustering the buildings together– 49% of the LEED project area is vegetated open space. 
  • An employee wellness program is being implemented including installation of walking trails and a garden which were part of the site planning of the facility
  • The building roofs are a light color which reflects light and heat away from the building – reducing the Heat Island Effect and reducing our energy costs.
  • Light pollution is reduced at the site by ensuring that building is minimally lit at night, and that exterior lighting is directed downward rather than up into the night sky.
  • The buildings are located on the site to maximize the warming benefits of the winter sun and provide shade from the summer sun. They are designed to shield workers from the winter winds, and provide protected outdoor work areas.


  • Water-efficient landscaping is utilized at the site. Native and locally-adapted plants were chosen so that no permanent irrigation systems are required.  
  • Water use is reduced in the buildings by 40% over a typical building by choosing low-flow toilets, faucets, and showerheads.


  • The building uses 25% less energy than a typical building by incorporating large roof overhangs to minimize summer sun; translucent glazing to bring in natural light; efficient lighting, heating, and cooling systems; and by maximizing insulation and reducing infiltration in the building envelope.
  • A 14 kW solar photovoltaic system provides 13% of the Administration building’s power, resulting in an annual savings of 19,548 kWh and a potential for saving $106,299 over the 25 year life of the solar panels.

Materials and Waste Management:

  • Multiple locations throughout the facility are planned for collection of recyclables to encourage building occupants to reduce waste. Specific recycling equipment was included in the Fleet Maintenance building to recover oil filters and other vehicle maintenance waste,
  • The striated wall running the length of the administration building was constructed from locally sourced raw materials and hand compacted in place, using the traditional building method called “rammed earth”. It was incorporated into the project to convey the Public Works Department’s connection to the land, and makes visual reference to the exposed rock and soil strata seen in “road cuts” throughout the county .
  • During the construction process, waste was diverted from the landfill by reuse, recycling, donating, or salvaging .  Over 86% (288 tons) of the construction waste was diverted from landfills.
  • Materials created as byproducts of the Public Works Departments work including asphalt millings and mulch were incorporated into the project to reduce waste and reduce costs for new materials.
  • The design incorporated salvaged glazing units and wood ceiling planks. The use of these products prevented them from being sent to a landfill, and also reduced demand for new products that would have been manufactured.
  • Of the total materials purchased for the project, 12% were recycled – including much of the steel, concrete, insulation, and glass.  Many of these materials contained over 50% post-consumer recycled content.  The tackable wall panels in the private offices are 100% post-consumer recycled content.
  • Of the total new materials sourced for the project, 5% were manufactured and extracted, harvested, or recovered within 500 miles of the project site.
  • Over 95% of the wood used in the construction is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.  FSC certified wood is harvested sustainably – limiting the impact to forest ecosystems.

Indoor Environmental Quality:

  • The air quality inside the buildings was cleaned and filtered prior to building occupants moving in, and the areas within the building where chemicals and pollutant sources are stored are separated in order to preserve high quality indoor air.
  • Only low VOC sealants, paints and coatings, flooring systems, and composite wood products for interior building components were utilized.  The products used are made of low-emitting materials that reduce the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released into the air. 
  • Over 95% of regularly occupied spaces have access to natural daylight and views., reducing the need for electric lighting, and providing for a healthy work environment.