Earlier this month, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian was awarded the United States Green Building Council’s LEED silver rating, making it the first of the Smithsonian museums to be honored.
LEED, standing for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the nation’s most celebrated program for the design and construction of green buildings.
“This achievement not only signifies the Smithsonian Institution’s commitment to sustainability, it also advances our museum’s mission to share traditional indigenous values such as stewardship and conservation,” said Kevin Gover, the museum’s director, in a statement released by the Smithsonian Institute.
The NMAI was recognized for their efforts in the categories of energy savings, water efficiency, indoor environmental air quality, indoor and outdoor building management, recycling and waste management, and sustainable sites.
Additionally, the museum was awarded because it is home to almost 150 species of plant life indigenous to four different landscapes within the region.
The museum also contributes and supports environmental research and participates in public programs like the Living Earth Festival, the Indigenous Farmers Program and the educational website American Indian Responses to Environmental Challenges.
The building, part of Washington D.C.’s National Mall, opened in 2004 and has been improving ever since. Silver ranks toward the bottom of the point-based LEED certification system, with both Gold and Platinum ahead.
However, silver is nothing to be ashamed of. “The NMAI’s LEED certification demonstrates tremendous green-building leadership,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council to the Smithsonian Institute. “The urgency of USGBC’s mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further than ever before, and the museum serves as a prime example of just how much we can accomplish.”