Austin-Bergstrom International Airport received its first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold designation July 12 for the airport’s ground transportation staging area.

Pam Losefsky, executive director of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Central Texas Chapter, awarded the designation.

The ground transportation staging area provides a place for cabs and shuttles to pick up and drop off passengers.

“The area reduces emissions by stopping drivers from sitting idle, and what energy the building uses is offset by 50 percent with solar power,” ABIA aviation spokesman Jim Halbrook said.

The staging area is a former rental car building that was renovated in late 2011 and received LEED Silver designation. No change was needed for the area to achieve the LEED Gold status this year. Halbrook said the engineers for the renovation project had told ABIA officials they could apply for LEED Gold status.

“Efficiency was absolutely a goal during construction,” he said. “The point of this building was to build to a higher environmentally friendly standard.”

Designed by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED designations are given to buildings that excel in environmental efficiency and resource conservation. Out of the four levels of LEED, gold is the second-highest designation a building can receive.

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