Whitefish city councilors voted this month to make their new city hall “LEED” certified.
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a rating system for the construction, operation and maintenance of the building.
It will tack on thousands of dollars to the project, but councilors say the upfront costs for green building standards will pay off in the long run.
“We have probably three façade designs. We’re pretty much settled in on what the interior space designations will look like,” said council member, Richard Hildner.
Plans for the new Whitefish City Hall is down to a few designs. Each is distinct, but what they will share is LEED certification.
“We would be the first LEED building in Whitefish and that’s kind of an exciting proposition,” Hildner said.
Hildner says the decision to use green building standards and apply for LEED designation wasn’t an easy one to make. It will add several thousand dollars to the cost of the multi-million dollar project. But, he says the value that’s added is worth it.
“LEED means that it will be a healthy, environmentally friendly place to work,” Hildner said.
Technology will be energy efficient and re-purposed materials will be used to build the new city hall.
“We will start seeing cost returns in about 10 years. So, the overall cost of operation will be reduced over time and so we’ll be able to pay for that in a fairly short order,” Hildner said.
Whatever design is chosen, Hildner hopes the “going green” will catch on.
“I think there’s also a sense of pride city-wide that says we have a building that we can be showing to the public what we think is important,” said Hildner.
A new city hall has been in the talks since 1987.
City council members will vote on the final design for the new city hall, at the next city council meeting on January 5th, 2015.