Provo considers expanding sustainability practices with new city center building

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Provo’s current city center building was built in 1972. According to the city report, it no longer meets seismic standards and does not have enough room for employees. (Emma Willes)

Provo is considering making its new city center building a certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building after hearing a proposal from its sustainability council Jan. 22.

Provo’s current center was built in 1972, and according to the city report, the building no longer meets seismic standards. The report also states there needs to be more space available for employees.

Provo City parking and sustainability coordinator Austin Taylor presented a proposal for the new building to be a clean energy building.

“I hope the city does choose to make it a clean energy building, but it all comes down to cost and size of the building,” Taylor said.

Provo Parks and Recreation Director Scott Henderson said the architect and contractor for the building will be selected in March.

According to Henderson, the council is researching sustainable characteristics for the future city center building.

“As with any project, the funding available to meet the primary need for the building is balanced with sustainable design characteristics,” Henderson said.

Costs of green buildings can start off a bit more expensive in the construction part, but overall the green buildings end up saving money for the owners, unlike conventional buildings. (Lauren Lethbridge)

Provo Power is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified gold building — a standard set by the U.S. Green Building Council on building supplies and designs that are sustainable.

Provo Power assistant director Scott Bunker said the new Provo Power building has many windows to utilize natural light and a sprinkler system that detects natural rainfall and adjusts the amount of water it uses automatically.

“It is well worth the investment, especially from an environmental perspective, as we try to take care of the natural resources around us,” Bunker said.

Provo has implemented a few environmentally friendly initiatives like the UVX line and allowing residents to participate in net metering. Net metering allows residents with solar panels on their homes to sell generated electricity back to the grid, making solar panels a more practical home energy option.

The new Provo City Center building could allow the city to add a second green building to its portfolio.

George Handley, a council member for Provo who represents District 2, said the city has gone into schools to educate about air pollution.

“We want to reduce our impact on the environment through energy efficiency,” Handley said about Provo’s sustainability practices.

The building design committee still has not made any decisions as of March 21, according to Provo Deputy Mayor Isaac Paxman. Paxman said the committee is touring buildings that are models of energy efficiency and deliberating about the costs of an energy-efficient building.

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