Starkville Board of Alderman goes green

Published 5:30 pm Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Starkville is going green.

The city’s Board of Aldermen passed a sustainability policy last week that will require all newly constructed city buildings larger than 3,000 square feet to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards.

The standards are a rating tool developed to encourage energy-efficient planning. They rate structures based on energy use, water efficiency and the types of materials used in construction.

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The new rule doesn’t apply to schools, private structures and many public buildings.

Only city-owned buildings like the Starkville Electric Department’s planned new facility would have to meet the requirements.

City engineer Edward Kemp said the new facility spurred the need for a sustainability requirement.

Use of LEED standards are common in other areas with 11,000 approved projects around the nation, but relatively new in Mississippi, Kemp said. Increasing energy prices are driving the push for their use.

“I think this is something that is long overdue,” Starkville Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Spruill said. “I think this is where the country is heading and I think municipalities need to lead on a local level.”

A LEED-certified facility can be more expensive than those built using less stringent guidelines. Kemp said the greater cost will be made up for with lower electric and water bills and less waste.

The city also will start a recycling effort in its buildings with the ultimate goal of curbside recycling in Starkville.

Starkville residents have only a handful of recycling drop-offs around town right now.

“I think it’s imperative that we focus on recycling now as a part of our daily routine,” Spruill said. “It has to become a part of our mindset.”