Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development
“Are you going to build a Green Building?”
That’s one of the first questions we ask developers when we meet with them. Why? Our role is to help folks see the long-term, economic value of being green – not only for them, but the City of Auburn Hills.
We value “Green Buildings” because they’re designed to last, are more energy-efficient, and are proven to be healthier places for people to work and live.
But, honestly, we have become accustomed to expect responses such as: What’s that? … No way, it’s too expensive! … No thanks, it’s too much work … No, we’ll just follow the LEED checklist, we have no interest in paying thousands of dollars for a pretty plaque.
As Kermit the Frog once wisely said, “It ain’t easy being green.” We’ve found from practical experience that changing an industry’s mentality toward building construction takes time and patience.
You need champions like auto supplier Henniges Automotive and their development team to lead by example. It was refreshing when we met with them about the construction of their new world headquarters at 2750 High Meadow Circle in June 2011. They said “yes” to our question. Hooray!
Fast forward almost two years later, we find that they’ve walked the talk. They were successful in obtaining LEED Silver Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Awesome!
What is a Green Building? Well, obtaining LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council is recognized as the gold standard for measuring whether or not a project is truly “green.” This non-profit organization developed and administers the LEED Green Building Rating System. The rating system offers four certification levels for new construction (Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum) that correspond to the number of credits accrued in five design categories.
We saw the value of this rating system many years ago. The City of Auburn Hills was the first municipality in the State of Michigan to adopt a Green Building Policy on November 13, 2006. Our policy encourages, but does not require, all applicable municipal and private development projects to achieve LEED certification. Since the adoption of this policy, three projects have obtained this prestigious award in Auburn Hills.
No doubt, change takes time – perhaps a generation. The City of Auburn Hills will continue to ask “the question” until Green Buildings are the norm.
Thank you, Henniges Automotive for leading the way.