Friday, February 22, 2008

Council Bill 2008-058

The City's Green Building Policy

Here's a portion of the bill, you can read the whole bill by clicking on the hot link "Bill 2008-058," here:


Section 1 - Green building design, construction, and operation furthers the goals set forth in the Springfield-Greene County Vision 20/20 Comprehensive Plan.

Section 2 - The City Council hereby adopts the "City of Springfield Green Building Policy." This policy reflects the City's commitment to encourage environmentally sensitive construction practices in the City of Springfield by utilizing, for City-owned buildings, construction practices that meet the prerequisites and performance benchmarks of the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification process.

Section 3 - The City Council hereby declares that all new City-owned buildings, of any size, intended for human occupation, shall be designed, contracted, and built to LEED Silver Certification for New Construction (LEED-NC), and shall strive to achieve higher certification levels (Gold or Platinum) whenever project resources and conditions permit. Regardless of the level of certification, the project shall include at a minimum: seven (7) of the total LEED points achieved shall be for energy performance; two (2) of the total LEED points achieved shall be for water use reduction; and one (1) of the total LEED points achieved shall be for construction waste management. All projects shall develop and implement a Measurement & Verification Plan consistent with EA CRedit 5, which will result in an additional point for energy efficiency. All new City buildings not intended for human occupation shall be designed, contracted, and built to include as many prerequisites and performance benchmarks of the LEED-NC program as possible. Buildings not intended for human occupation include utility, material, and equipments storage type structures, structures where occupancy is typically intermittent, or structures not designed to have heating and/or air conditioning equipment installed, i.e. open sided structures.

Section 4 - The City Council hereby declares that all future renovations of City buildings shall be designed, contracted, and built to include as many prerequisites and performance benchmarks of the LEED for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) program as possible. If a building renovation involves replacement of appliances, heating and/or air conditioning equipment, or other systems that use energy, the new equipment shall be Energy Star qualified, if qualified equipment is available.

Section 5 - The City Council, to maintain tight control over the cost of City building projects, qualifies the above Section 3 of this Green Building Policy to require the total LEED project life cycle cost analysis demonstrate an operational cost savings payback within ten (10) years for any premium above the industry standard. Where the operational cost savings payback is anticipated to be more than ten (10) years, the City Manager is directed to approve the level of LEED certification appropriate for that particular project. If no level of LEED certification is feasible, the project under consideration shall include as many prerequisites and performance benchmarks of the LEED program that are feasible and at a minimum all equipment installed in the building shall be Energy Star qualified, if qualified equipment is available.

Section 6 - The City Council may grant exceptions to this Policy when it deems appropriate.

Section 7 - The City Council directs the City Manager to perform a review of this policy within two (2) years after the policy is adopted and to provide a report to the City Council's Community Involvement Committee regarding any recommended changes to the policy.

I didn't like this bill when it first came out because I saw it as a waste of taxpayer money. Citizens spent a lot of valuable time in public input processes and the city spent a lot of money in time and resources bringing this bill before Council (I think at Council's request) to make the statement: "Look at what the city is doing! We're building green! Follow our lead!" When all they really had to do was request City staff to build city buildings green and they'd do it. I'm not making that up. Dan Wichmer, the City Attorney told me that. It wasn't necessary to generate a bill/resolution to build green. If they wanted attention they could have just built green and at the ribbon cutting announced they'd had the building built to LEED Silver Certification standards and that they plan to continue and would encourage the community and other businesses to do the same.

But, now they've done it. They spent taxpayer time and resources to bring us this lovely resolution on a green building policy. They tabled the first one, went back to the drawing board, spent time rewriting and now we have the new draft. At this point it would be a bigger waste of taxpayer money not to pass it after spending all the time they have on it than to go ahead and pass it.

There might be one other consideration. It will likely cost more money to build green initially but the idea is that in the long run our government will save money over the life of the building by building green. That's a fact and I embrace that fact. I do wonder, at a time when we are facing a budget crises and need to be finding ways to fund the police/fire pension plan, if this was the best timing to promote another goal "set forth in the Springfield-Greene County Vision 20/20 Comprehensive Plan" that initially costs more money to implement even though I recognize its money saving future.

A person would be a fool to argue against the objectives of building green. They are great objectives. But a person should, in my opinion, weigh the timing of such policies and the necessity of them before spending the taxpayers' money through cost and administrative resources.

For more information about LEED Certification: USGBC: LEED


Anonymous said...

I would guess it is "designed" to make the internal building policy more restrictive. This policy would provide work for "special" designers and "special" contractors.

tom said...

Could it be that the city council, the city leaders, and all those concerned are looking at building a legacy to themselves instead of doing the best job possible for the taxpayers of Springfield

Jason said...

Well, a question...if they had just done it and citizens found out later about the green building standard and perhaps higher construction costs...would we have a whole host of blog entries/talk radio show rants/talk radio phone calls/letters to the editor from all around the Ozarks about it being "done in secret"?

At least they're being open about it.

tom said...

I don't consider "staff recommends approval" as being open about anything. It has all the appearances of what the city does best, which is have a couple meetings to which few people attend then the city will proclaim that the citizens spoke. Many of us can't continue to work 40+ hours a week and keep an eye on our government officials 24 hours a day.

I see no reason to spend money wastefully trying to achieve some idiotic "green" standard when the savings for such aren't ever realized by the individuals which footed the bill in the first place.

You can quote me the Discovery Center, however we the taxpayers will be footing the bill for that structure until we die then it is up to our kids to continue to fund the project.

I would bet City Utilities still sends the building power which uses up coal to create electricity. You want to show me "green" GET OFF THE GRID and truly be GREEN