Center is green in all but name

Though the planned expansion of the David R. Meager Community Center in Malta will be energy efficient and eco-friendly, the Town of Malta will not pursue green building certification through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. In a split decision Thursday, May 1, the Town Council voted to forgo the process.

The reasoning behind the decision was financial. The LEED certification process would cost the town approximately $157,000, and while they would recoup some of that amount through rebates and incentives, the price would still total $99,000.

Councilman Peter Klotz cast the only vote for certification.

I feel that the cost is justified, said Klotz. "It would improve the town's image as a green community."

The LEED program is operated by the U.S. Green Building Council and recognizes structures that excel in areas such as water efficiency, energy performance, the use of recycled or eco-friendly building materials and pollution control. Several proposed developments in the Malta area " including the AMD microchip fabrication facility " have pledged to meet LEED standards.

The lack of LEED certification doesn't bother parks and recreation director Audrey Ball, however.

"You could argue it both ways all day long," said Ball in a phone interview. "We're hoping to be a green community but developers don't have the same tight budgets municipalities have."

Ball stressed that the facility will still meet all requirements of the LEED program even without the actual certification.

"The LEED certification will not change the quality of the building," she said.

As planned, the expansion will make efforts to conserve energy while being visually appealing. Boston-based architect Bargmann Hendrie and Archetype Inc. plans to use cedar throughout the structure, and the landscaping will be handled by Saratoga Associates, which is promising plenty of benches and floral plots outside the center. The community center will also make use of a rain garden, which filters storm runoff naturally in addition to providing attractive plantings.

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