City of Bloomington Sustainability Coordinator Jacqui Bauer spoke at the event, “Greening History, Achieving Leadership Energy and Environment Design Certification for City Hall.”
Bauer touched on the city’s efforts to preserve and certify Bloomington’s City Hall, a goal aligned with Green Drinks’ mission.
Green Drinks, a social networking organization for anyone interested in making a greener world, has chapters in numerous countries and in almost every large city in the U.S., according to the Green Drinks website.
The branch in Bloomington meets the fourth Wednesday of every month to share ideas and plans and make new friends and business connections throughout the city.
During the lecture, Bauer said the City Hall at the Showers Complex Building on Morton Street was built in 1910. It is owned by different parts of Bloomington, and the City of Bloomington owns only a small portion.
“This made the certification application difficult,” she said. “We had to adopt many new plans and policies to submit the certification. Everything on the LEED’s list took hours and hours of work.”
LEED is an agency committed to the sustainability for construction and maintenance of new and existing buildings, Bauer said.
For certification, LEED has to approve the building construction, water installation, materials used, sustainable sites and indoor environmental quality. For existing structures, improvements on these systems or the total renovation is required to fulfill the guidelines, Bauer said.
“Certifying an existing building with the LEED is very difficult,” she said. “The building’s plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems are completely different throughout the building.”
The goal for Bloomington was to have all city-owned buildings certified by LEED by this year.
To help promote its group, Green Drinks conducts numerous lectures and speeches around the city, welcoming anyone interested in the topic.
“Networking. That is the most important factor of Green Drinks,” Green Drinks volunteer Cynthia Shultz said. “Any business or person interested in sustainability and green topics are welcome.”
Green Drinks representatives asked Bauer to lecture about the City Hall certification process.
Guest lectures from local businesses and organizations are common for Green Drinks events.
“We get together in November and talked about our past projects and future topics,” said Marcia Veldman, a leader of Green Drinks Bloomington. “Our main goal is to bring people together who have an interest in sustainability.”
At the end of each meeting and lecture, Green Drinks opens the floor for 10 mini-announcements, inviting people to speak about any new organizations or events, Veldman said.
“It helps put faces to names,” she said. “It is informal but great for networking.”
Bill Brown, director of sustainability at IU, said he has been to Green Drinks meetings in Indianapolis and many in Bloomington.
“I expected the Bloomington meetings to be smaller than the Indianapolis ones, but they were larger,” Brown said. “In Indy it was all about selling stuff, but here people really care about these issues.”
According to Brown, Green Drinks takes sustainability seriously and provides an atmosphere for all people, including students and locals.
“It is typical Bloomington,” he said.
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