Inspiring Green

Federal_Building.jpgAfter blogging Seattle’s City Hall yesterday, I asked a couple of city staff people what I should do for an encore to highlight the City’s commitment to sustainable design in the public sector. They surprised me by suggesting the Federal Building (pictured here). When I said I had been thinking of a municipal building, they responded by saying that they thought the City’s efforts on City Hall had inspired the Federal Government to “go green”.

It was hard for me to argue against their point.

According to these folks, after their City Hall met the Silver Standards of LEED, the Federal Government, not to be out done, also met the Silver Standards of LEED in the new Federal Building.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It was created by the non-profit U. S. Green Building Council to set standards for the building industry. They have four levels of sustainable development excellence, Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum, based on points awarded for areas that include water efficiency, energy savings, indoor air quality, and use of sustainably produced or recycled materials.

Obtaining certification can be expensive so some entities, and I believe this includes the City of Seattle and perhaps the Federal Government, have chosen to meet or exceed the LEED requirements without paying for the official process. Meeting these development and operating goals cuts energy use, reduces greenhouse emissions, and produces healthier buildings, so the certification is secondary to the results.

I liked the story of Seattle’s City Hall inspiring the Federal Government. Perhaps if Northfield builds a new City Hall or Fire and Safety Center, and meets LEED standards in the process, we can inspire MNDOT to “go green”.

Ah, reach for the stars and at least you won’t come up with your hands full of mud.

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