What do you get when you cross UK with KY? I am not talking about UKKY (…pronounced "yucky" …), but that is something my kids would probably find funny. I am talking about the BBC World Service, World Have Your Say Blog series that features the Green Building in Louisville, Kentucky on September 30 and October 1.
The Green Building opened in the Fall of 2008 in the East Market District. Renovation of this 110 year old dry goods store began in the Sprin of 2007 when the owners decided to become the first LEED Platinum commercial building in Louisville. According to the video, the owners are anxiously awaiting the certification results from the USGBC.
What makes an owner pursue sustainability at a premium cost during hard economic times? In an interview with The Courier Journal, owner Gill Holland says it was a passion of he and his wife:
"And then my wife, Augusta, and I were still falling in love with this neighborhood, and a building a block away, next door to Toast, was for sale. When you come from New York City, everything seems so incredibly undervalued. We’d been living there. So we bought that building, and she’s kind of the one who opened my eyes to the whole concept of sustainability. So we thought, "Let’s make it the first, hard-core green, self-sustaining, run-the-electrical-meter-backwards building in Louisville."
In the interview, Holland described the details of green building process from demolition and recycling to material selection to construction. He also explained why a green roof was important:
It’s important because it saves you energy. A black tar roof in the summertime goes up to like 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Obviously, you’re air conditioning your building to 76 or whatever it is. You’re spending a lot of electricity to get your building down there. A green roof: the dirt, the grass collects all that heat. It doesn’t even make it to your interior.
Although it is a fairly long interview, Holland explains the features of The Green Building in simple terms. He also has some great ideas about the future of green building in terms of public construction, infrastructure and private development. And the interview was three years ago!
What has happened in the past few years? Sustainable or “green” construction practices have gone from fringe movement to mainstream. A significant part of these practices, as reflected in the LEED rating system, concern energy conservation and efficiency. There are literally hundreds of programs across the local, state, and federal level that provide some financial incentive for green energy projects. The impact of these incentives on a project’s construction-cost bottom line can be significant and it pays (…literally…) for developers and contractors to thoroughly research programs that may apply to a particular project.