Ramstein 'grows' green visitor center Published July 8, 2011 By Staff Sgt. Travis Edwards 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Members of the 435th Construction and Training Squadron built a new "green" visitor control center here, which opened July 6 at the entrance of the west gate. The new facility houses many initiatives that put it in the running for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. The LEED certification is an internationally recognized green building certification system. "We are really excited to show this new building; it is the first thing you see when you get to Ramstein," said Thomas Lenhard, the 435th CTS project manager for the build. "Seeing it from the design table to the finished product -- it is going to be great." According to the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. Some of the new initiatives include a rain-water collection reservoir, an energy-efficient heating system and self-adjusting lights for correct ambient light levels. In addition, the contracting squadron used recycled and local materials for the build. They also have an initiative to authorize green car parking spaces near the entrance of the building. "This structure is the first of its kind for the U.S. Air Forces in Europe," said 1st Lt. Katherine Schultz, the 435th CTS Military Construction Flight commander. "It is clear that the Ramstein (AB) visitor control center will serve a vital role to the base and community, while simultaneously embracing environmental responsibility." Members of the 435th CTS also renovated the pre-existing VCC to make it "greener" and ensure both buildings were more than adequate for their new customers. One of the more extensive tasks for the upgraded facility was the removal of its roof. "The removal of the existing roof was necessary due to the design concept of the architect," Lenhard said. The new VCC was designed in consideration of the main gate so all the roofs look like they belong together. The new building doubles the size of the old VCC and houses the area for visitors who wish to have access to the base. The construction of the facilities started in February 2010 and completed in May. "Our teams worked hard through the winter to ensure this build was completed on time," said Manfred Stridde, the 435th CTS chief of operations. "We are all proud of our finished project." The build was a collaboration between the 86th Airlift Wing and 435th Air Ground Operations Wing personnel. "There has always been tight cooperation between the 86th (AW) and 435th (AGOW)," said Col. Stephen Lambert, the 86th Airlift Wing vice commander. "We take advantage of the skill sets in each of the wings to produce products like this."