• First 'green' car dealership opens near Dallas. Gensler has designed the first car dealership to register for a LEED rating with the U.S. Green Building Council. Pat Lobb Toyota, McKinney, Texas, is a 53,000-sf facility whose exterior is composed of 80%-recycled aluminum, energy-efficient lighting, native landscaping, rainwater harvesting for irrigation, heat generated from oil-change waste, and a car wash that uses recycled water. “We believe this project will serve as an example that sustainability can be made a natural part of any building type,” said Gensler's project director, Rick Ferrara.
• No official word on GSA chief architect. On September 6, The Wall Street Journal reported that Thomas Gordon Smith, a leading classical architect from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., was set to become the chief architect of the U.S. General Services Administration. But as of press time, there has been no announcement that Smith will get the influential post and preside over an annual construction portfolio worth more than $1 billion.
• Insurance industry gives first discounts for green building. The insurance industry is beginning to see the value in offering discounted rates to green building owners—and owners may see the value of their environmentally friendly properties rise as a result. California-based Firemen's Fund Insurance Co. recently announced plans to introduce green coverage for commercial buildings certified as sustainable. Benefits include discounted premiums or rate credits for owners of sustainable commercial buildings, including rebuilds or retrofits.
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