"People have been asking me, 'What the heck is a green building?'," said James Stark, the CEO of Fayette County Community Action Agency. It's another name for an environmentally friendly building designed to cut operation costs and reduce carbon emissions and other waste that could be hazardous to the environment.
The 18,000-square-foot facility at 108 N. Beeson Ave. is fitted with bicycle storage, changing room, alternative fuel vehicle parking with charging station, special parking for car pooling, reduced heat island roof (painted white to reflect heat), water efficient landscaping, two flush toilets, waterless urinals, sensor-controlled faucets, optimized energy use, use of solar panels for power and hot water, a geothermal heat pump, sensor-controlled lighting and more.
"And it's powered by wind power, too," said Gregory R. Asbee, a graduate architect for Altman and Altman, the architectural firm that designed the building. Asbee said all the products used in the building were purchased locally to cut down on vehicle waste.
An estimated 95 percent of the materials from the demolition of the previous structure was recycled in some way. Along with the environmental benefits of the building, the heat sources and water usage will save on monthly utility bills and the building is healthier for employees and those who visit the site.
The indoor qualities include no tobacco smoking, carbon dioxide monitoring, continuous fresh air, indoor air quality measures, low VOC emitting materials with the use of specialized adhesives and sealants and paints, indoor chemical and pollutant source control and thermal comfort controls every 1,000 square feet.
"I went on a tour of this building, and I'm very impressed," said state Rep. Tim Mahoney, who added that the features of the new building go hand in hand with the services that the FCCAA provides the poor and elderly in the area. State Rep. Ted Harhai is familiar with green buildings. One was recently dedication in Monessen. "This is a growing movement, not a passing fad," Harhai said.
"These projects are valuable, and they benefit the community." Fayette County Commissioner Vincent Vicites said it was great to see more development happening in Fayette County, and lauded FCCAA. "They have a tremendous vision, and they're always looking to build," Vicites said.
"And now they have five buildings and one of them is a green building."
Uniontown Mayor James Sileo said the FCCAA has been instrumental in the process of the renovation of the Uniontown area and the resurgence of the local economy. "Uniontown has a bright, bright future," Sileo said.