FORT HOOD — The Spirit of Fort Hood Chapel Complex is setting a new standard in the Army’s efforts to build more efficient and environmentally friendly facilities.
During a ceremony on Friday, the chapel and religious education center, which opened a year ago, were recognized as the first in the Army to receive gold certification in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design from the U.S. Green Building Council.
“This is a kick-butt facility,” said Col. Bill Phillips, garrison chaplain, drawing laughter from the crowd. “This is great and we are just thrilled to have the opportunity to minister ... at this campus.”
The goal of all new construction at Fort Hood is to be silver certified, said Brian Dosa, director of the Directorate of Public Works. But when the chapel complex was so close on the point-based certification system to gold, they went for it, earning the rating by one point. The only rating higher is platinum.
“At Fort Hood we are committed to sustainability,” Dosa said. “(First) because the Army is telling us to be. ... Also, because it’s the right thing to do.”
Some of the noteworthy aspects of the chapel Dosa pointed out included the amount of open space in the 40,000-square-foot facility, the water saving irrigation and landscaping system and energy efficient heating and cooling systems. The builder also was able to recycle 715 tons, about 86 percent, of waste generated during construction.
“We were able to (reach gold certification) without any additional cost to the government,” said Sarah Andrews, a senior estimator with Solis Constructors, the company responsible for building the chapel.
Each week, Phillips estimates 9,000 people visit the chapel for Jewish, Catholic or Protestant services, as well as for the variety of classes, groups and events offered.
“We are happy to have environmental sensibility, but the real reason why we have the facility is to take care of soldiers and families,” he said.