Saturday, July 21, 2007

Planners Hear LEED Goals

Planning Board members and residents who attended the July 19 meeting learned a lot about LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Presenters were William G. Lashbrook III, PNC Bank senior vice president for real estate finance and William Amann of M&E Engineers. The two are members of the New Jersey chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.

LEED is “a voluntary green building system establishing national criteria for sustainable buildings” that was created in 1998. Both existing buildings and new construction can achieve LEED ratings by meeting the system’s goals. The speakers gave a PowerPoint presentation that summarized the system and its benefits, which include cost savings over time, a healthier workplace, better indoor air quality, less waste, and reduced impact on the environment.

To understand some of the goals, Union County residents need only think of the “sick building” syndrome that caused illness and lost productivity a few years ago in governmental buildings in Elizabeth. The recent media emphasis on global warming has brought sustainability to the forefront, causing people to review everything from the kind of light bulbs they use to their means of getting to work.

I will not attempt to encompass everything about LEED in one blog post. Instead, I direct your attention to the national and state web sites: and for more information.

A pertinent LEED element for Plainfield is that it is better to start building the concepts into a project from the inception. This may include the way a building is positioned, the choice of building materials, use of rainwater, planning for optimum energy savings and even the kind of toilets installed. It means looking at everything in a very conscious way to save energy. With so many new projects in the works, it is an opportunity for Plainfield to lead the way.

--Bernice Paglia


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