Before Christmas, Director of Public Works Michael Pastore stated the Town Hall Building Renovations Committee will not pursue cumbersome and expensive LEED certification. I called David Havens, St. Luke's School environmentalist, who confirmed that LEED certification does raise costs a lot. David opined, however, that the town, without pursuing LEED certification, can follow LEED guidelines, which are meant not only to be environmentally correct, but also to reduce eventually the cost of operating a facility.
Up front costs in the Northeast can be inhibiting, David explained, but "passive solar energy -- building position, windows and shades, color and so much more -- cost very little and return financial investment quickly."
I have found through involvement in many citizen efforts that New Canaanites are profoundly interested in the environment, preserving open space, and finding ways to be green. In renovating our century-old Town Hall, we have a terrific opportunity. We need to make sure that the town hall uses solar panels for its roof. Although initially expensive, solar panels save money over time and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. New Canaan is woefully lacking in its use of solar for public buildings. This is our chance.
Committee Chairman Michael Avgerinos welcomes public comment and is urging New Canaan citizens to come out in force in March to comment on the Town Hall's design. Now is the time to be vigilant before those initial designs are completed. Please consider attending the committee's meeting Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. and February meetings at the library. Ask questions. Insist that solar panels and other energy saving methods be incorporated into all aspects of the town hall's design.
Meeting minutes do not always tell the whole story. Unfortunately the committee's meetings are not being televised on Channel 79.
Many brains and thoughtful comments contribute to good work. Let us all be involved so that our renovated Town Hall will be proudly green and serve us well for another century.