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Diplomacy in Action

Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Earth Day With LEED® Certifications for Johannesburg and Brazzaville Diplomatic Facilities

Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
April 22, 2010


The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) announced today that the U.S. Green Building Council has granted Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification for the New Consulate Compound in Johannesburg, South Africa and the New Embassy Compound in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo.

Johannesburg and Brazzaville join Sofia, Bulgaria and Panama City, Panama as the four United States diplomatic missions with LEED® certification. These four missions are the only LEED® certified structures in their respective countries.

LEED® certification is the recognized standard for measuring building sustainability. Achieving LEED® certification is the most recognizable way to demonstrate that a building project is "green." LEED® promotes design and construction that reduces the negative environmental impacts of buildings and improves occupant health and well-being.

In Brazzaville, contractor B.L. Harbert International of Birmingham, Alabama and the architectural firm of Page Southerland Page of Arlington, Virginia exceeded the contract requirements, achieving a LEED® gold rating. This is the highest level of LEED® certification awarded to any OBO project to date.

In 2008, OBO required all new diplomatic facilities achieve LEED® certification. OBO presently has 34 capital security projects in design or construction.

In recognition of the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, OBO has also awarded three solar panel arrays contracts this year in Kigali, Rwanda; Athens, Greece; and Rangoon, Burma. The photovoltaic panels provide a clean, carbon-free source of energy to supplement each mission’s energy requirements. The projects will reduce utility costs and save the U.S. government money.

These sustainability efforts exhibit the Department of State’s commitment to environmental stewardship and provide platforms demonstrating a policy of eco-diplomacy.

For further information, please contact Jonathan Blyth at or on (703) 875-4131.

PRN: 2010/493

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