JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - After undergoing major renovations in 2011, Building 249 on the Fort Myer portion of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall has been awarded a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

Building 249, the operations facility for The Old Guard's Alpha and Echo Companies, was originally constructed more than 100 years ago, from 1902-1903. During the structure's extensive renovations, which were completed in October 2011, designers and contractors used environmentally-conscious methods that earned the new building the certification.

LEED was conceived by the U.S. Green Building Council as a way to recognize best-in-class building practices and strategies, according to the U.S. Green Building Council's website. The certification is designed to ensure that building owners are environmentally responsible and that they use resources efficiently. In order to achieve LEED status, building projects fulfill specific prerequisites and earn points to reach different certification levels.

Building 249 achieved LEED certification with a total of 34 points through a variety of methods, said Suzanne Hren, acting chief of the Master Planning Division in JBM-HH's Directorate of Public Works.

Many of the disposable materials from Building 249's renovation process were recycled; metal studs from the walls and other materials removed from the structure were repurposed, Hren said.

"They don't just throw it all in a big landfill," she said.

Contractors were able to maintain 75 percent of the building's existing walls, floors and roof, Hren said, including old hardwood floors and heavy timber framing.

Workers managed to preserve historic discoveries from the renovation process as well. During the 2011 renovation, combat murals from the 1950s were discovered behind sections of wall and parts of the floor. Sections of the mural are encased behind protective glass in the new building's conference room.

New additions to the building also helped it achieve LEED status, including low-flow toilets and plumbing fixtures that result in a 30 percent reduction in water use. Ventilation, insulation and energy-efficient windows also keep electricity costs down, Hren said.

"We kept the best of the historic materials and put in the new materials that would best serve our functions," she said.

In a letter to Bonsok Escobar, JBM-HH's director of Public Works, Council President S. Richard Fedrizzi commended the JBM-HH community for the accomplishment.

"LEED certification identifies Bldg. 249 ... as a showcase example of sustainable design and demonstrates your leadership in transforming the building industry," the letter reads.

The LEED certification is truly an accomplishment, Hren said, because workers weren't just knocking down an old building and starting fresh - they were keeping important parts of the original, historic structure.

"When you build new, you're just putting everything up," she said. "This was unique. This was a first for Joint Base Myer Henderson-Hall."

Building 249 is the second building on the joint base to achieve LEED certification; Building 421 received the certification in 2011.