Bridgeport is still a city under construction, Michael Sepanek said, and city planners want future development in Bridgeport downtown to be sustainable. The city is aiming to become certified as a LEED city.
Sepanek was a speaker at the Green Market Exposition in Bridgeport’s Barnum Museum on Saturday.
Planners want to “bring it back to what it was, when neighborhoods were neighborhoods,” Sepanek said. “You would go to the local bakery, not to the Super Stop & Shop.”
And planners want to include tree orchards and rooftop gardens in a future downtown Bridgeport, Sepanek said.
Any government building now has to be built to LEED standards. (That’s a national requirement.)
But not only does it cost more to build green, but Connecticut’s process to get a license – to install solar heat, for example – is broken, Sepanek said. (In Connecticut, you have to be a certified plumber.)
It’s “killing Connecticut,” Sepanek said.
The good news is LEED certifiers, weatherization auditors and similar professionals are becoming a demand in the state.
Keep pristine areas pristine and take existing buildings, like GE and Remington Arms, “that are contaminated or a mess already,” and build new buildings there, Sepanek said.
“A lot of buildings in Bridgeport can be rehabilitated,” Sepanek said.
LEED is a widely accepted commercial building code, but Sepanek admitted, “I think LEED doesn’t do enough.” But it has established itself as the industry standard for sustainable buildings in the last two years.
Sepanek works for Shelton-based Alternate Global Technologies, which deconstructs sites and recycles all the building materials instead of knockdown demolitions.