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A local building is the first bank branch in Mississippi to become LEED certified.

Shortly after the opening of the Southern Bancorp Hernando Branch in summer 2011, the bank applied for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) has now awarded the Hernando Branch its LEED Certification.

LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system verifying a building was designed and built using principles aimed at increasing performance, reducing waste and improving quality of life. LEED certified buildings save energy, have better water efficiency, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and improve indoor environmental quality.

“The Hernando Branch features more windows for day lighting, increased views for inhabitants, a higher degree of insulation, and a more energy efficient air conditioning system.,” a press release from the bank states. “The site has a larger green area than a bank its size normally would, containing plants compatible with the local climate. The lights are also of a lower wattage and have sensors to adjust to daylight and room occupancy.”

“The building uses recycled materials like its cork floor, which is renewable and soft for the employees that stand throughout the day.”

“The quality of our building reflects the quality of our products and the commitment to offer the very best in service and convenience to our customers,” said Alan Sims, DeSoto County President for Southern Bancorp. “A component of Southern’s mission is to promote community economic development through innovative means, and this building is an example of our commitment to our mission. We were charged with constructing a building our customers and employees will truly enjoy and we believe we have accomplished this.”