WIESBADEN, Germany -- The assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment visited the Gen. Shalikashvili Mission Command Center Sept. 6 to kick off a nine-day tour of U.S. Army facilities in Germany and Italy.

The purpose of the Hon. Katherine Hammack's visit is to better understand the state of renewable and alternative energy in Germany and Italy and how the Army can best maximize the use of it.

The Shalikashvili MCC is the U.S. Army's first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver certification of a facility in Germany. LEED, established by the U.S. Green Building Council, is an internationally recognized program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District-lead project, a 285,000-square-foot U.S. Army Europe headquarters building is also the Corps of Engineers' first international LEED Silver certified project.

LEED certification of the center was based on a number of green design and construction features that positively impact the project itself and the broader community. These features include:

• Energy: The Shali MCC is anticipated to save $120,000 per year in a energy costs. It is designed to perform 18 percent better than a reference building of its size and type.

• Water: The building is designed to use 42 percent less water than a baseline facility. This is anticipated to result in a savings of more than 1.3 million gallons of water per year.

• Waste Management: 98 percent of the construction waste from this project was diverted from a landfill.

• Local Materials: More than 55 percent of the materials used to construct this building were harvested (or recovered) and manufactured within 500 miles (800 km) of the project site in Wiesbaden, Germany. This reduces the carbon footprint of the project along with sustaining local businesses.

• Certified Wood: 100 percent of the wood building components are Forest Stewardship Council certified. FSC certification is a seal of approval for forest managers using environmentally and socially responsible forest management practices and to companies that manufacture and sell products made from certified wood.

• Indoor Air Quality: Low emitting materials including adhesives, sealants, paints, carpet systems were used throughout the project. In general, facilities built using materials with high Volatile Organic Compound content can contribute to building occupant illness and decreased worker productivity.

During her tour of U.S. Army posts in Germany and Italy, Hammack will visit many sustainability projects including the new, state-of-the-art facility under construction for the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team in Del Din, Italy. Another highlight of Hammack's visit is a symposium with garrison energy managers and German environmental ministers scheduled for Sept. 11.

The mission of the Hammack's office is to provide strategic direction for Army installations and facilities in all matters relating to infrastructure, energy and the environment, to support global Army missions in a cost effective, safe, and sustainable manner.