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Merchandise Mart gets green certification

The Merchandise Mart Chicago, the world's largest commercial building encompassing 4.2 million square feet, recently was awarded the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver certification for existing buildings.

LEED certification is the nationally accepted benchmark for design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. It provides independent, third-party verification that a building meets the highest performance standards and is an environmentally responsible and healthy place to live and work. To earn LEED certification, a building must meet certain prerequisites and performance criterion within five key areas of environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

"Our investors want long-term results," Christopher Kennedy, president, MMPI said. "Our city demands corporate responsibility and the community wants environmental stewardship. The LEED program helped us find common ground and proved that growth and sustainability are great partners."

LEED was developed to define and clarify the term "green building" by establishing a common standard of measurement, as well as recognize environmental leadership in the industry while raising consumer awareness of the benefits of green building. LEED-certified buildings conserve energy and water, reduce waste sent to landfills, have lower operating costs are healthy and comfortable for occupants and demonstrate the owners' commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility.

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