VANCOUVER, Wash. (6/26/09)--Columbia CU, Vancouver, Wash., received the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for its Grand Central branch. This is the second LEED certification Columbia CU has received--its Washougal branch was awarded gold certification earlier this year. To earn LEED certification, a building must meet certain criteria. Columbia applied for and earned 42 points toward gold certification for site selection, energy use, lighting, water and material use, waste management, air quality and innovation in design. “Our Grand Central branch uses about half the gas and electricity and 40% less water on average than our comparable branches,” said Columbia CU interim CEO Steve Kenny. The credit union also reduced construction waste by 75%. “Throughout the construction process, work crews carefully separated scrap metal, wood and concrete for recycling,” Kenny said. “This prevented excess building materials from going to landfills.” Notable green features at the branch include an omni-directional skylight, a cistern for rainwater collection, porous concrete, Forest Stewardship Council-certified lumber, corn fiber work station panels and guest chairs made from recycled seat belts. Columbia CU has $770 billion in assets. The credit union is one of several nationwide that have worked to become more environmentally friendly. News Now reported May 7 that Redwood CU, Santa Rosa, Calif., had achieved LEED status in its Santa Rosa branch and administrative building. Michigan State University FCU, East Lansing, Mich., also embraced green concepts when it built its headquarters building, and is aiming to receive LEED gold certification this year (News Now May 7).