4:32pm

Fri August 19, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Lyric in the'Green'Light

A cultural center that celebrates Lexington’s Black community now also sets a standard for energy efficiency

The Lyric Theater and Cultural Arts Center is the first city owned building to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold Certification.   LEED certified buildings are designed to reduce waste, conserve energy and water, and improve indoor air quality.  For example, architect Susan Hill says the theater will benefit from solar power generated by the Fayette County School System

“That green power that will be put back on the grid from other local sources will be part of the green power that the Lyric Theater then will be using,” said Hill.

Hill says that solar power will help cut the Lyric Theater’s annual energy costs by over 30 percent.   

Energy saving tools installed at the Lyric Theater and Cultural Arts Center could be used in other buildings renovated by Lexington.   Lexington Mayor Jim Gray says such strategies could someday be applied to another well-known downtown building.

 “Let’s take for example when the government center is, one way or another, renovated.  It would receive bonus points in the leed certification process because it is renovating that facility instead of taking it down,” added Gray.

Energy efficient and environmentally-friendly construction techniques, like those used in Lexington’s Lyric Theater, may be standard in the years ahead.  Joan Pauley, who directs the Kentucky chapter of the U-S Green Building Council, says  50 buildings in the Commonwealth have earned such certification.

“If you can build projects that are both fiscally and environmentally responsible,  why not?  So, we don’t have to choose anymore.   We don’t have to say oh we want to make it sustainable, therefore, it’s not gonna be fiscally responsible.  Now we can say both,” explained Pauley.

Pauley says energy savings can range between 20 and 30 percent, depending upon the certification.