Sullivan goes green with new initiatives
September 28, 2007
Monticello — The Sullivan County Legislature yesterday adopted a set of environmental initiatives, including a provision that will require the new county jail to meet "green" building standards.
The list of 15 green initiatives covers everything from open space to purchasing hybrid cars for the county fleet and marks progress on behalf of the county to be environmentally thoughtful.
It is topped by a policy that requires future county facilities to meet LEED certification standards or equivalent practices. That means the new county jail, to be built starting in 2009 at an estimated cost of $100 million, would include efficient heating and cooling systems and renewable building materials. LEED, short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a system of guidelines for sustainable construction created by the U.S. Green Building Council.
County Manager David Fanslau said the green-certified jail and other sustainable purchases could cost 3 percent to 5 percent more. But the long-term savings are greater, he said.
"There's really a cost recovery over time, especially for buildings," Fanslau said, noting that a large chunk of money can be saved in energy efficiency alone.
The unanimously adopted plan also calls for the county to purchase recycled materials, such as paper; buy hybrid cars to replace old vehicles where possible; preserve open space and farmland and conduct regular energy audits in county buildings.
The county's first publicly funded foray into sustainability was in 2002, when Sullivan County Community College installed geothermal heating in almost all its buildings. Since then, the college has saved roughly $150,000 a year in heating and electricity costs, college President Mamie Golladay said.
The county's "Green Vision Statement," as it is called, was created after a series of green symposiums hosted by Sullivan Renaissance, an environmental advocacy group.
"We're hoping the county will be the leader and others will follow," said Sandra Gerry, founder of Sullivan Renaissance.