Continuing to demonstrate her true can-do spirit and steadfast determination, Hardcastle recently passed the certification process to become a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Accredited Professional (AP) through the US Green Building Council (USGBC). Lara was the Project Manager on the award-winning Founding Farmers restaurant in Washington D.C., the first LEED Gold upscale-casual, full-service restaurant in the United States, which opened one year ago. She’s a vital part of our LEED restaurants work and green restaurant operations consulting.
As the first VSAG employee to earn the LEED AP title, Hardcastle joins more than 75,000 professionals across the country that have earned the LEED AP credential since the USGBC program was launched in 2001. Hardcastle’s appreciation and understanding of the importance of green design inspired her to achieve LEED accreditation, achieved in Commercial Interiors.
“It is my belief that due to increased global awareness, construction and design practices are moving towards sustainable practices across all industries,” says Hardcastle. “I aspire to influence change within the restaurant industry, where VSAG has established itself as an expert in the field.”
LEED Professional Accreditation is managed by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI), established with the support of the USGBC. According to the USGBC web site, LEED Professional Accreditation distinguishes building professionals with the knowledge and skills to successfully steward the LEED certification process, as LEED AP’s have demonstrated a thorough understanding of green building practices and principles and the LEED Rating System.
VSAG Founder Dan Simons praised Hardcastle’s accreditation as an “…amazing accomplishment that bolsters VSAG’s credibility for future green products. Lara’s firsthand LEED knowledge is invaluable for VSAG, for our clients that are pursuing LEED, and for improved green practices on all of our projects. We now have a more effective way to interface with engineers, architects, and other green industry members, but we are also leaders for the restaurant industry as a whole, in green and sustainable practice. ”
LEED certified places use key resources more efficiently when compared to conventional places, which are simply built to local building codes – but it didn’t stop there for Founding Farmers. The restaurant has proven to be a healthier working and dining environment, with staff committed to implementing energy efficient concepts, sourcing locally, emphasizing reclaimed and recycled products, and operating sustainably – all without sacrificing the comfort of guests.
Founding Farmers’ sustainable-minded focus celebrates the rich history of American cooking and American’s independent family farmers as the foundation of our land. Believing that everyone benefits by knowing the source of our food and its journey from seed to harvest to table, Founding Farmers promotes the products and services of farm families, ranches, and fisheries, and buys ingredients directly from local, sustainable farms. In doing so, the forward-minded restaurant delivers the highest-quality classic American fare and takes its place at the forefront in transforming the food industry.