Going Green For Teens

This project won the “Planning & Design with Environmental Protection in Mind Award” under the Park & Resource Conservation Branch section of Maryland Recreation and Parks in 2006.

Beyond decreeing that all future municipal buildings be LEED-certified, the Gaithersburg mayor and council took the additional step of adopting a comprehensive ordinance designed to ensure that future residential developments and redevelopments adhere to green building standards that will help safeguard our environment for future generations. That ordinance was adopted in October 2007. A similar ordinance is also being considered for commercial development in the city.

City Staff are at 70 percent design development on two additional LEED-certified municipal facilities–a 6,500-square-foot youth center in Olde Towne to encompass an arts and crafts room, multi-purpose room, computer room, sound room and mixing/recording studio, and a 62,000-square-foot aquatic and recreation center to include a competition/lap pool, recreational pool, locker rooms, multi-purpose rooms, gymnasium, and fitness center.

Advice From Gaithersburg

There were many lessons learned throughout this relatively new and sometimes complex construction process. It definitely would be of value to visit green buildings before designing your own. It may be wise to choose a construction firm that has experience in LEED projects and not to be the first to install a new product. It is vitally important to have a knowledgeable, experienced HVAC company with experience installing sustainable systems. Also, pick finishes wisely, such as windows and hardware.

Funding for the more than $2 million project included: $100,000 for design fees and $250,000 for construction from Federal HUD funds through Community Development Block Grant; $300,000 for construction through Economic Development Initiatives; and $1,416,000 from the city’s Capital Improvements Projects budget. A 30 percent reduction in water use and a 20 percent reduction in energy costs for its efficiency with the geothermal system over a typical building are among the projected savings.

Michele McGleish is the director of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture in Gaithersburg, Md. She can be reached via e-mail at mmcgleish@gaithersburgmd.gov

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