The National Training Center and Fort Irwin took another step forward in its commitment to environmental stewardship last week.

Building 309, the Company Operations Facility, located at Barstow Road and Ninth Street, was officially awarded LEED Gold certification during a ceremony Sept. 28.

LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally recognized certification system for "green" building projects. Gold certification is the second-highest of the four levels of LEED certification, and the COF is the second building on Fort Irwin to earn it. The Child Development Center located at Fort Irwin and Outer Loop roads was awarded gold in April.

"This project is just one factor that will help Fort Irwin reduce energy usage and improve quality of life for Soldiers," said Hossam Kassab, installation resource efficiency manager.

The building was evaluated in six categories for gold certification: sustainability, water efficiency, materials and resources used, indoor environmental quality, energy and atmosphere, and innovation in design. During construction, which was completed in October 2010, 95.5 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills. More than one-third of materials used came from recycled sources, and 26 percent of materials came from the local region. The COF uses 49 percent less water than similar projects, and 26.3 percent less energy.

The 22,000-square-foot building cost $8.3 million and provides enough operating and storage areas for two companies. It includes offices, meeting areas, armory vaults, TA-50 storage lockers and unit storage areas. A covered vehicle staging area next to the building provides loading and unloading access.

The environmentally-friendly project is part of ongoing efforts at the installation to meet standards set by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which requires federal facilities to reduce energy use every year, Kassab said. The act mandates that by 2015, all federal facilities must cut their 2003 usage levels by 30 percent.

"We're leading by example with this building," Kassab said.