Orion Associates, Meridian Services, and Zenith Services Corporate Office Achieves LEED Gold Certification

June 3, 2009

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We are pleased to announce that our organization’s Golden Valley corporate office building has achieved LEED Gold Certification.

As noted in an article titled, “Where you LEED,” by Jim Hackler, LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is a green building rating system developed by the United States Green Building Council(USGBC), which is setting a new standard for site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials section and indoor air quality. Each of these areas carries points under the LEED rating system. Through an extensive process of verifying prerequisites and credits, a project must reach a certain score to be designated as either LEED Certified, LEED Silver, LEED Gold or the environmentally progressive of all, LEED Platinum.

“The key advantage for obtaining LEED certification is the third-party verification of the green attributes of a project,” says Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and President of the USGBC. “LEED was developed because the building industry lacked a coherent definition of what ‘green’ was. The LEED rating system provides the building industry with consistent, credible standards for what constitutes a green building, and has become the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.”

We pursued the goal of LEED certification for a number of reasons. The first and most important reason was that we wanted to provide our employees and clients with a healthy environment in which to work and to receive services. Secondly, as an organization, we felt that it was important to be a role model and leader in the community, particularly in the area of environmental sustainability. We believe strongly in being connected to the community and giving back and that being a leader in the community also means you recognize the importance of the environment.

Much of the credit for our achieving LEED Gold certification goes to Scott Mower of Progressive Architecture of Saint Paul, Minnesota and TDB Builders, LLC of Forest Lake, Minnesota, led by Tony Vannelli, Doug Jeans, Bill Jeans and Steve Johnson.

TDB demonstrated enthusiasm for the project from our first meetings with them through to the end of the project. They listened to what we said, were sensitive to our needs, and took to heart what we told them was truly important to us in the building we envisioned.  They presented us with cost effective plans that realized our vision and built the addition that fully met those plans.

TDB had to learn about LEED certification from the “ground up.”  They did so and then applied what they learned to the construction of our addition.  They also did so with enthusiasm and incorporated the principals of a “green” design into their plans, construction, and the building that resulted.

We want to express our deepest appreciation to Progress Architects and TDB Builders and to recommend them both to other organizations seeking to work with a conscientious builder of the highest quality.

Our corporate office building is only the sixteenth building in the state of Minnesota to be granted LEED Gold status. Our organization is now part of an elite group of companies with LEED Gold buildings, which include Ecolab, the University of Minnesota at Duluth, the cities of Elk River and Saint Paul, United Healthcare, Cargill, and the Minnesota Zoo. In addition, there are only forty-five other buildings Minnesota that have achieved any form of LEED certification, which make ours the forty-sixth building in Minnesota to be LEED certified.

More information about LEED certification may be found here: LEED certification

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