Lake Placid village board looks to join Green Building Council

LAKE PLACID — Mayor Craig Randall proposed the village join the U.S. Green Building Council, with consultation from Clarkson University, at Monday night’s village board meeting.

The USGBC is a private nonprofit organization that “is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings,” according to its website. It introduces initiatives to buildings and houses such as solar panels for renewable energy, water-efficient bathrooms and strategically placed rooms and windows that allow for optimal natural light to reduce the need for electricity.

Randall said Lake Placid’s prospect of hosting the Winter World University Games caught USGBC’s attention, and the organization reached out to him.

Entities such as the village, the town of North Elba, the state Olympic Regional Development Authority and possibly the school district could join and be part of these green initiatives.

The USGBC is a membership-based organization. A five-year Gold membership costs $15,000. Randall said it would be a fair price for what would create “very dramatic benefits in the future.”

In 2000 the USGBC introduced Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), a popular third-party rating system that indicates how eco-friendly a particular building is. The ranking system goes from “certified” to “platinum.”

“The value of a community that would become LEED certified is amazing for Lake Placid,” Randall said.

People can take courses in LEED and pass an exam to become certified consultants for green projects.

Randal said he spoke with Eric Backus, director of the Construction Engineering Management Program at Clarkson University, about getting the university’s help in these green projects. Backus is also a Market Leadership Advisory Board member for the Upstate New York Community of USGBC and teaches LEED courses at the college.

“We’re seeing a real passion for what it means to be good stewards of our environment, especially amongst our engineering students at Clarkson,” Backus said in a community blog post on USGBC’s website.

After the board approved the proposal, Randall said, “We’re stepping into a new world.”

This approval doesn’t mean the village will join the USGBC; it just means the board members will start conceptualizing what the benefits and negatives could be.