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Letter to the editor: Senior center inherently 'not green'

September 08, 2010 - Dear editor,

In response to last weeks article on the proposed Senior Center (Senior center stalled: Township changes gear, agrees to look at Joslyn Road location, Sept. 1), it makes me nervous when I see the green flag of LEED wrapped around a project in order to somehow sanctify the building of a project.

And then when I read "We designed it with steel instead of wood for joists, walls, etcetera, as in Michigan winters things tend to flex and move," makes me think the teleprompter might be broken.

As a member of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), and with LEED accredited professionals on my staff, I feel obligated to weigh in on this matter.

To build any project on a virgin piece of soil is inherently not "green." If we are looking for a 'green' solution for the definite need to improve our Senior Center may I suggest the former Ehman Center.

There is nothing more green or sustainable than reusing what we already have.

In my 15 years of practicing architecture in Lake Orion I have watched this architectural and community gem slowly turn into an eyesore, being demolished by neglect, and the lack of funding, leadership and imagination.

With the money we will be spending to tear up a beautiful virgin parcel of land, lay down a sheet of asphalt (the site is too far from anything to walk to), bring in water, sewer, gas and electric; and then construct a building, we could have a fully refurbished Ehman Center with elevator within a truly sustainable walking district.

To my way of thinking this is a win, win, win, win. An historic building is saved by strong, visionary political leadership.

The seniors gain more space and amenities that could be gained in a new building of similar cost.

The downtown village district is reinforced with additional seniors and ONTV staff within walking distance of shops and restaurants, and a piece of Lake Orion history is rightfully preserved for future generations.

Lets not build for the sake of building in the same suburban sprawl model that has lead us to necessitate the 'green' movement.

No need to 'think outside the box', lets use the box we already have. Lets set an example of how to best allocate our dwindling tax resources on projects that accomplish many objectives instead of just one.

Steve Auger AIA


Stephen Auger +

Associates Architects Inc

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