Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Healthy Buildings

If you've been to downtown Salt Lake City lately, you know about the mammoth project being undertaken by the LDS Church to reconstruct the block between South Temple and First South Streets and Main and West Temple Streets. The new complex of buildings will be called City Creek Center and won't be completed until sometime in 2012.

An article published in the April 19, 2008 Deseret News states the following about City Creek Center:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' $1.5 billion downtown project is taking part in a pilot program of the U.S. Green Building Council that promotes environmentally responsible and sustainable development.
The Program applies a new standard of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design [LEED] rating system to neighborhood development, not just single buildings. Projects can be recognized for construction and design methods that place a high priority on good health, the natural environment and quality of community life.

The article goes on to say that three other Utah developments are also joining this new LEED program: the Marmalade development just west of the state Capitol, the Daybreak Village Center in South Jordan and the Newpark Town Center in Park City. In a previous article, the LDS Church announced that the new Church History Library (across from the Conference Center) will also seek LEED certification.

This is all good news. Indoor enviornmental air quality is a key factor in LEED certification. A building (or project) must have an acceptable plan for outdoor air introduction and exhaust systems, use of green cleaning products, equipment and pest management, and consideration of occupant comfort (i.e. lighting, heat and air conditioning and views). Ventilation and reduced particulates in the air also must be part of the master plan.

A building that meets LEED certification standards is difinitely going to be a healthier building for its occupants. Personally, I'm looking forward to doing research at the Church History Library and shopping at the City Creek Center, where I know that the building products used will not make me ill and toxic chemicals are not being used to clean, either inside or outside the buildings. It's good to see the LDS Church involved in this program, which will not only save money, but will improve lives.

For more information about the LEED program, go to http://www.usgbc.org or http://greenmormonarchitect.blogspot.com .

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