Beyond Green – SSOE, Architectural and Engineering Firm, Helps Military Retailer Go for Silver

Military Retailer in San Antonio, Texas is One of First to Seek Prestigious LEED Silver Certification

APRIL 07, 2009, TOLEDO, OHIO –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 and even leading the way in environmentally friendly design. One example is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) initiative from the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), the Department of Defense’s oldest retailer.

AAFES, the U.S. Department of Defense’s oldest retailer and SSOE Inc., a U.S.-based global architecture and engineering firm, is spearheading the design and LEED Silver certification for the Randolph Air Force Base Exchange (BX), located in San Antonio Texas, serving more than 50,000 active, reserves, dependents, and retired military personnel.

SSOE’s Leslie Accardo, LEED AP says, “This project will be part of a retail pilot program for the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to help fine tune new LEED guidelines that will be geared specifically toward the retail industry.” The Randolph BX is one of the first in the AAFES system to follow the LEED guidelines necessary for Silver certification. SSOE is familiar with being first. The company designed the first Gold LEED certified building in Ohio, and nationally the first Gold LEED certified central utility plant in the U.S. Overall, SSOE has 50 LEED accredited professionals, from architects and engineers to interior designers.

Ann Scott, Corporate Energy Program Manager for AAFES, says, “The initiative is the result of a 2007 Air Force policy that all new construction on Air Force installations be built to a LEED Silver certifiable standard, and that LEED will be the rating metric used for all construction.” According to Scott, 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 US states, and 5 U.S. territories. Ground was broken for the project in January 2009. Expected completion date for the 153,000 square foot shopping center is spring, 2010. The Randolph BX will include a Starbucks, military clothing store, food court, interior mall and loading dock.

About SSOE Group

As an internationally ranked architecture and engineering firm, SSOE is known for delivering unparalleled client value that advances the AEC industry. They have been named a “Great Workplace” (Great Place to Work®) and one of the “Best AEC Firms to Work For” (BD+C).

Over the company’s 75-year history, it has earned a reputation for providing quality project solutions to high-tech and general manufacturing clients in the semiconductor, automotive, battery, food, chemical, and glass industries. SSOE also provides forward-thinking design across healthcare and general building sectors such as corporate workplace, education, and judicial—with projects completed in 40 countries. Visit for additional information and career opportunities.

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Jenni Roder
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