Project Advertised To Exceed Gold Standard, Now Dropped To State Minimum
The city council voted tonight to reduce the energy efficiency and green building standards for the Center of Community Life to the minimum allowable by State law but lower than the city's own minimum requirements. In a 3-2 vote (West and Asher dissenting) the council signed off on the proposed schools and community center known as the Center of Community Life, to drop a previously touted LEED gold standard.
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a voluntary consensus-based market-driven program that provides third party verification of green buildings. With the council vote, the Center of Community Life, a project the City proudly calls "State of the Art", will now flout the City's own official goal to make all new major development LEED certified.
|The LEED chart:|
The Center of Community Life will be off the chart.
Emery School District architect Roy Miller told the council members that keeping to the LEED gold standard would cost more money and school programs would suffer as a result.
The School District has not released the total amount of money Emeryville taxpayers will spend on the Center of Community Life but more than $5 million has been spent so far on "community engagement" and consultants it should be noted.
Dissenting council member Jac Asher expressed concerns that the broken promise of green building standards for the Center of Community Life represents "another compromise" and she lamented that there has been an overall erosion in the project, a "chipping away" she said. She expressed worry that the project ultimately will not meet its vision, a sentiment shared by councilwoman Jennifer West.
|Council member West expressed concern |
energy savings won't be realized over the
next 34 years of the project, the length
of the bond term.
Council members Ruth Atkin, Nora Davis and Kurt Brinkman, the majority vote tonight, have been vocal in their support for LEED certified projects in Emeryville.
City Hall has long touted its green bone fides. A 'Green Business Program' has been initiated, giving certified green Emeryville businesses marketing support, helping them "communicate their dedication to the environment, their customers and the communities they serve" according to the city's website.