When it comes to creating a good shopping environment, the military base exchanges of the 21st century are in step with the latest retail trends. They’re even leading the way in terms of environmentally friendly design through a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) initiative from the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES).
The Randolph Air Force Base Exchange (BX), located in San Antonio, Texas, is one of the first in the AAFES system to comply with the guidelines required for Silver LEED® certification. SSOE is spearheading the design and certification process. When completed, the 153,000 square foot exchange will serve more than 50,000 active, reserves, dependents, and retired military personnel and include a Starbucks, military clothing store, food court, interior mall, and loading dock.
SSOE’s strong LEED credentials were one key qualifying factor in being selected to head up the design. We designed the first Gold LEED certified building in Ohio, and the first Gold LEED certified central utility plant in the U.S.
SSOE’s Leslie Accardo, LEED AP, explained that the project is part of a pilot program for the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to help fine tune new LEED guidelines geared specifically toward the retail industry. The environmentally friendly character of the Randolph BX follows directives in a 2007 Air Force policy stating that all new construction on Air Force installations will be built to a LEED Silver certifiable standard, and that LEED will be the rating metric used for all construction. The current program aims to apply the LEED Silver standard to all new retail shopping center construction and will help AAFES adhere to this standard.
AAFES currently operates 141 shopping centers worldwide and more than 3,000 individual facilities including Post Exchanges and Base Exchanges at US Army and Air Force bases in more than 30 countries (including Iraq), 49 U.S. states, and 5 U.S. territories. Ground was broken for the project in January 2009 and it is expected to be completed in spring 2010.
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