City council discusses greener practices

By Colleen Vest

The city of Champaign may become more environmental friendly in the near future.

The Champaign City Council met Tuesday night for a study session to receive information about sustainable building practices and increasing the city recycling program.

Lorrie Pearson, land development manager for the city of Champaign, presented information for sustainable building practices for commercial industry at the Curtis Road and Interstate-57 interchange.

“The cost of building green is about the same as conventional building,” Pearson said. “More people know how to integrate green practice in the original design.”

Pearson proposed incentives for buildings with LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, certification. The Curtis Road area will be developing during the next 15 years, and new environmental standards need to be discussed, she said. Councilmen Tom Bruno, At-Large, and Michael La Due, Dist. 2, asked for Pearson to look into alternative modes of certification or adopting green standards for building codes citywide.

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“This community needs to be at the forefront of environmental practices,” Bruno said.

Dennis Schmidt, Champaign public works director, discussed updating the recycling program for the city.

“We would like to expand the recycling to apartments with a curbside pick up or establish a program of the city contracting with a hauler,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt asked the council to look into expanding the recycled materials available for haulers to remove, while increasing public knowledge and marketing options.

“The city ordinance on recycling is 15 years old, and it needs to be updated,” Schmidt continued. “Champaign needs to offer recycling to more people and increase education, so people recycle properly.”