Roof top garden at ICD9
Roof top garden at ICD9 Israel news photo: courtesy of Intel

Computer hardware giant Intel has created Israel's first American LEED-certified green (environment-friendly) building in Haifa, to be called Intel Design Center 9 (IDC9), it was announced Tuesday. Intel employs approximately 6,600 workers in development and production facilities in Haifa, Jerusalem, Kiryat Gat, Petach Tikva, Yakum and Yokneam.

Although there are several green buildings in the country already, until now none had met the LEED standard for ecologically-sound construction.

The NIS 450 million Haifa structure is Intel's first LEED-certified Gold-level building, worldwide. The structure was built on land previously occupied by a parking lot in order not to damage any natural resources, according to a statement by the company.

Among the sustainable design and construction elements is a rooftop garden to enhance thermal insulation and prevent the building from retaining excessive heat. There is also an automatic system for measuring carbon dioxide levels in the office space for improved air quality, and a method for capturing and recycling condensate water from the air conditioning system for irrigation.

The building, rated Gold by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system -- the second-highest rating in the scale -- was dedicated at an inauguration ceremony by Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan.

The structure also meets the “Outstanding Green Building” level for Israel's green building standard 5281, at the Standards Institution of Israel, which addresses buildings with minimal environmental impact. Standard 5281 focuses on four areas: land, water conservation, energy and miscellaneous ecology.

The LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) system, which was designed and implemented by the United States Green Building Council, rates buildings on elements that range from energy and water management, natural light usage, construction materials, bike racks and more.

The trend towards green building has begun to reduce the pollution and greenhouse gases that are produced by building construction around the world. In Israel, where only a few such structures have been built so far, the government is working to encourage investors and contractors to “go green” in new construction, while working to avoid any compromise on the quality or nature of the structures involved.

The concept of “going green” and making the most of the materials available in the environment has become an active part of many local campaigns as well. In the municipal elections that took place this spring in the northern Negev town of Arad, the issue played a central role in the mayoral campaigns of most candidates. The Negev is home to major environmental initiatives in Israel, especially those involving solar energy.