GR First With Municipal LEED

January 26, 2005
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GRAND RAPIDS — Grand Rapids has become Michigan’s first city to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, a nationally acknowledged environmental standard, for one of its municipal buildings.

This week the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) will recognize the new Grand Rapids Water and EnvironmentalServicesBuilding for incorporating numerous environmental features into its design and construction.

Rick Fedrizzi, USGBC’s president, CEO, and founding chairman, will present the LEED certification to the city this at 9:15 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 27, in the Pantlind Ballroom at the AmwayGrandPlaza. The presentation will take place during a meeting of the Michigan Local Government Management Association, a gathering of city managers from across the state.

“This is an important milestone for Grand Rapids and for Michigan,” said Keith Winn of Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber, Inc., the company responsible for assisting the city and its design team in pursuing LEED certification. “Grand Rapids has established a benchmark for other Michigan cities committed to environmentally responsible building. We now join an exclusive but growing group of progressive communities nationwide that are adopting successful green building programs.”

The LEED Green Building Rating System is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. LEED is managed by the USGBC, a nonprofit organization formed in 1993 to promote the design, construction and operation of buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. Several West Michigan-based companies were founding USGBC members.

Among the Grand Rapids Water and Environmental Services Building’s environmental features:

  • Energy savings through efficient building design.

  • Employee access to public transportation.

  • Employee bike storage and shower facilities.

  • Storm water management systems including rain gardens, a low-impact form of storm water management.

  • Porous pavers that minimize drainage requirements.

  • Reduced light pollution.

  • Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems.

  • Recycling systems for everyday waste including office paper and soda bottles.

  • Use of building materials composed of recycled content throughout the facility including carpet, steel, ceiling tiles and insulation.

  • Sustainable design educational materials for visitors.

  • Use of locally and regionally obtained materials.

In his recent State of the City address, “Mayor George Heartwell presented a sustainable vision for Grand Rapids that is socially, environmentally and economically responsible,” Winn said. “We believe the Water and Environmental Services facility is consistent with this vision and represents a significant step forward in designing and constructing municipal buildings that are both environmentally friendly and cost-effective for our city and its citizens.”    

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