Calhoun is officially home to the first Platinum, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building in the city, belonging to Halstead International.
Harlan Stone, CEO of Halstead International and Reed Thomas, representing the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) Georgia chapter, cut the ribbon on the companies new support center March 8.
The company, which now has three buildings, specializes in flooring and decorative building services for homes.
The Calhoun Support Center’s (one of Halstead International’s buildings) certification is the first for Calhoun and the 10th building of its kind in the state of Georgia.
According to the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) website, LEED is a way for businesses to be productive in an environmentally friendly manner.
“LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building, home or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality,” said USGBC.
To be certified for LEED, structures must accumulate a level of points. Points are given for each function engineered for the structure to provide a minimalist impact on the environment, and the higher the points, the shinier the certification. Starting at the base level of “certified,” structures can be awarded higher levels of certification.
From “certified,” the ranks are Silver LEED, Gold LEED and Platinum LEED being the highest level attainable.
The Calhoun Support Center is a Platinum LEED certified building, and is the most green efficient a building can be.
It was built to be a LEED certified building as Halstead International prides itself on being an innovator in producing green alternatives to manufacturing.
“We built our support center from scratch, and yes, we always planned to get a LEED certified structure, and as the project moved forward, we realized we had a chance to do something that very few others have done in Gordon County and frankly anywhere in North Georgia—we could build a Platinum LEED certified building, so we did,” said Harlan Stone, CEO of Halstead International.
Halstead International’s three buildings make up what the company calls the “Calhoun campus.”
LEED certification can encompass a brand new structure or renovations to an existing structure. According to Stone, another of the three buildings on the Calhoun campus is merely being renovated to meet LEED certification as well, however it will not be Platinum certified.
“Although the new building (one of three on our Calhoun campus) was not renovated to become Platinum LEED certified, we did take advantage of renovation on the existing building to increase the points we earned to reach this lofty goal,” said Stone. “For example, we fitted the roof of our warehouse with PV panels to generate the electricity needed for our new Support Center, and completed re-engineering of our drain water handing treatment thereby turning a negative “flooding” issue into ponds and a reduced reliance on city water.”
Stone recognized the work force available in Gordon County as a reason for expanding.
“We have had operations in Calhoun, Georgia for the past five years, we started with two people in a rented warehouse over on Lovers Lane… we outgrew that facility and entered the market to find a larger warehouse building which we eventually found over on Thomas Street and moved in there in the summer of 2008,” said Stone. “After our first few years in Calhoun, we realized there was a tremendous pool of well trained and hard working employees that we could draw from,” he said.
The ribbon cutting unveiled the new platinum certified green LEED building in Calhoun, Ga., and Stone believes the support center will serve as a starting point for structure construction with the company.
“The Calhoun Support Center stands out as our most proud achievement in the development of construction of commercial property, we will use this a springboard to both new and existing structures as we continue to expand our operations here in Georgia and around the world … and to serve the best interests of the environment and the communities we operate in,” said Stone.