When it comes to sustainable building practices, you’d think that governmental agencies would be eager to take the LEED, so to speak. Brookfield has been an on and off proponent of such practices at the village level.
When Kiwanis Park was renovated a year or so ago, part of the plan called for the inclusion of permeable pavers in a section of the parking lot. The village has also toyed with green alleys, has beefed up its rules regarding storm water runoff and has enthusiastically partnered with the MWRD on its rain barrel program.
The Brookfield Public Library may be on the verge of building a new facility, if it can clear one more governmental hurdle and convince taxpayers to help pay for it. And while library officials have already convinced the Planning and Zoning Commission to back off on its recommendation that the library seek LEED certification for the new facility, we have to agree with Brookfield Trustee Michelle Ryan that it’s a missed opportunity.
We get that achieving LEED certification increases construction costs, but if government would like to promote sustainability and tighten rules to get private property owners to become “greener” citizens, then government agencies should be happy to lead by example.
To be fair, the library’s architect has included some “green” elements in the design, such as LED lighting, room occupancy sensors, passive solar controls and permeable pavers in the parking lot and low-flow plumbing fixtures.
But buildings such as libraries and municipal halls typically are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. If built, you can bet this facility is going to be serving the village of Brookfield for the next century, unlike the inadequate facility now serving residents, which was built in the 1980s.
If the library is not up for implementing more sustainable elements right now, perhaps officials could build them into a strategic plan that can be implemented over time.