LEED is the gold standard in environmental and sustainable building, and Thomas Development Co. is proud to be a leader with its implementation. We're dedicated to the highest levels of environmental consciousness and sustainability, a commitment reflected in our developments. Our communities are affordable, walkable and environmentally friendly.
Environmental awareness has risen significantly throughout the United States in the past decade. Some cities are requiring environmentally sustainable construction, and most state housing agencies either require it or provide incentives in the competitive scoring process.
The U.S. Green Building Council's LEED certification process works by awarding points for concrete measures taken in the categories of Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy Performance, Material and Resource Use, and Indoor Environmental Quality. This translates into efficient heating and cooling systems, water-conserving fixtures, energy efficient lighting, low or no VOC materials and particle board made without formaldehyde, among other important areas of focus. Based on its design and points awarded in specific categories, a development can earn Basic, Silver, Gold or Platinum certification.
Thomas Development Co. is on the leading edge in this effort to build safe and durable developments and draws on a deep well of expertise to finance, design and build sustainable, environmentally-friendly communities.
Thomas Development Co. has been firmly committed to green building practices since 2007. Following extensive research, Thomas Development Co. became a member of the U.S. Green Building Council and made the decision to pursue LEED for Homes certification. While there are numerous green rating systems, we chose LEED because of its third-party verification system, which ensures the highest level of quality assurance and accountability by all members of a design team. We are confident that our investment in certification fees and increased construction and administration costs will be quickly offset by savings in utility costs, decreased maintenance and enhanced livability for our residents.
To further our commitment and dedication to sustainable building practices, in August 2009 we became the first Founding Sponsor of the U.S. Green Building Council Idaho Chapter, and in 2010 we unveiled Idaho's first two LEED for Homes Platinum certified developments: Rosslare, in Idaho Falls, Idaho and Cardona, located in Chubbuck, Idaho. Both are 48-unit residential developments for seniors.
Since that time we have completed additional LEED Platinum-certified developments; Meadowlands in Butte, Montana; Summerhill in Idaho Falls, Idaho; Bandon River in Idaho Falls, Idaho and Valencia in Fruitland, Idaho. And we are working on more, furthering our commitment to sustainable building and enhanced livability with on-the-ground results.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calls ENERGY STAR "the little label with a big message," and Thomas Development Co. is advancing that big message with its new homes and apartments throughout the West.
ENERGY STAR is an international standard for energy efficient products ranging from light bulbs to kitchen appliances. By using ENERGY STAR certified products in the homes we build and renovate, we're ensuring that our residents' bills are manageable, that our carbon footprint is low and that we're working for sustainable, livable communities for our residents and their communities.
A joint program of the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, ENERGY STAR saved enough energy in 2008 alone to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 29 million cars-all while saving $19 billion in utility bills.
Thomas Development Co. is proud to be part of energy solutions with each new development we unveil.