Education is a vital part of the green movement, and Oakland County has shown an interest in teaching the public what going green means and how it’s done.
The first seminar in the OakGreen Sustainable Community Seminar Series was held June 10, 2010, at the Oakland County Conference Center in Waterford, Michigan. The seminar was titled “Green Building Update for Local Governments,” and it featured information about building green and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System.
LEED was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and provides “third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts,” according to the USGBC Web site.
The USGBC has found that buildings account for almost half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. annually. This is important to know because if a consumer wants to reduce his or her carbon footprint, the first place to start should be the home, workplace or school. The greening and LEED certification of buildings such as these and many others were discussed throughout the session.
The informative seminar began with an overview of the Detroit Regional Chapter (DRC) of the USGBC by Bob Stevenson. Later there were six panel discussions related to specific green building topics.
Included in the seminar was a presentation about public policy by Plunkett Cooney Senior Environmental Attorney Saulius Mikalonis. During his discussion, Mikalonis mentioned that there are, in general, four major categories of green design benefits: the environment, health and safety, the community and the economy.
Also discussed was the LEED certification information and plans for neighborhoods, schools, homes and commercial real estate. Details about how to become a LEED Accredited Professional were also provided.
For more information on LEED certification or the USGBC, please follow the link.
The next seminar in the free OakGreen series will take place July 6 and will include presentations about green financing. To find out more about Oakland County Michigan and the OakGreen seminars, please follow the links.
Jennifer Griffin, Contributing Writer and Public Relations, GreeningDetroit.com
Jennifer is pursuing a degree in Journalism and English from Wayne State University, and she is also a Contributing Writer for The South End.