Achieving Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification doesn't seem to be good enough for the new Del Din base slated to be fully operational in June. The $308 million, design-build MILCON project awarded in March 2008 has a contractual requirement to achieve Silver LEED certification as defined by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). However, because of the team's efforts and a firm commitment to aim higher, a Gold LEED rating now appears within reach without costing the Army another dime."In December we received a 100 percent approval by the USGBC of the 24 credits submitted for the final design stage review," said Dario Tita, senior construction quality control manager for the joint venture of the prime contractors, CMC-CCC, and on-site LEED expert.Enforced by the USGBC, the LEED standard is one of the most authoritative benchmarks used to rate the design, construction and operation of green buildings. LEED standards are used to evaluate site sustainability, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality and innovation in design.There are four levels of certification, Basic, Silver, Gold and Platinum, which builders achieve by earning points from a menu of sustainability features. Del Din, the largest single MILCON project ever built in Italy, is positioned to join an elite group of residential and institutional facilities that have achieved Gold."Obtaining all of the 24 credits for design, and considering that there are an additional 17 points possible for the construction stage submittal, set the conditions for this amazing project to aim at the Gold certification, for which the minimum threshold is 39 points," Tita said."Of the last 17 credits submitted, 12 have already been approved by our LEED accredited professional consultant, and we are extremely confident that we will complete the submission of the remaining documentation by March," he said. A response would be expected soon thereafter. While the USGBC conducts the audit process to evaluate the sustainability of the construction requirements, the team is satisfied with the exceptional results coming from the final design review.The majority of LEED credits are awarded for optimizing energy performance. A total of 10 points were at stake and the Del Din team earned them all, thanks to the energy efficient building design.Notable energy features include a Central Energy Plant utilizing high-efficiency boilers, chillers and pumps and a sophisticated heat recovery system, super-insulated building envelope and other basic strategies such as top-quality performance windows and doors and maximum use of natural daylight."Our design-build contractor has really embraced this unique opportunity to lead the way in green design. From the outset they have been driven to be the first to achieve a LEED Gold rating for a campus-wide project. They have seized every opportunity to make this a sustainable and environmentally friendly project," said Cmdr. Andrew M. Hascall, Navy resident officer in charge of construction for Northern Italy."From recycling 96 percent of the onsite material to improving energy efficiency, this project touches on it all. This has been an invaluable education for the government and private industry. With a lot of hard work and innovation you can really make a difference," Hascall said.Credit for this achievement goes to the entire design and construction team, namely the JV-CMC-CCC, AI & Partners and Rosser International Inc., said Tita, who praised the efforts of the Army and Navy project teams with whom he has been working hand-in-hand on site for the past five years.He said their trust and encouragement made a positive difference, supporting the project with the necessary documentation to verify the integrity of the accreditation during the rigorous submittal process, in which it is necessary to consider every element and cost-benefit calculation to the company, its employees and the environment.Negotiating the LEED certification matrix is time-consuming and complex, and ultimately a firm has to weigh its reasons for going above and beyond the standards once the contractual requirements are met, Tita said.With visions of LEED Gold on the immediate horizon, the Del Din team's efforts are becoming a reality from which Soldiers will benefit in the near future. Follow The Outlook for continuing coverage of Caserma Del Din green construction as the campus moves toward opening in June.