Ronald McDonald houses have helped millions of families through emotionally difficult situation for many years. Each house reflects something about the personality and spirit of the community they serve. People who participate in the development of Ronald McDonald habitats are truly going the extra mile for their community and for families dealing with adversity.As these carefully conceived, carefully funded and budgeted habitats emerge, communities come together to support, drive and staff the facilities. As thee house do reflect the communities in which they exist, it is no surprise that the Ronald McDonald house connected to the Children’s Medical Center in Austin was designed and will be operate as a sustainable, green project.The architects and developers consulted with the U.S. Green Building Council and agreed upon a design that would comply with the Platinum level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification. The architectural plans were approved in 2007.The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Austin and Central Texas consists of 13 guest rooms, administrative offices and delightful common areas. The idea was to create an Oasis in the desert for visitors to the Children’s Regional Medical Center.Ronald McDonald charities does it right. Planners were determined to have this house reflect Austin’s green commitment. From the initial site work through completion, the environment and the social consequences of each design element were dedicated to LEED® concepts.At the project’s very beginning, site–related impacts were reduced by including plans that met the strictest soil erosion, sediment control and storm water runoff criteria architects and city officials could establish to protect the site and surrounding properties. By employing drought-tolerant landscape plantings and by harvesting rainwater, the dependency on the irrigation system and upon public watering was reduced by 30-40%.Low-flow plumbing fixtures, ultra-efficient showerheads and faucet aerators as well as Energy Star clothes washers and dishwashers put the polishing touches on a stellar water conservation design. Criteria for selecting the building’s construction materials complied with LEED® recommendations and had to improve the indoor environment. Local materials were used whenever possible.The four-story, multi-housing building contains 28,500 square feet of living/working space. As anyone familiar with the Ronald McDonald program would expect, the house in Austin is the first multi-family platinum certified building in the state.