GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The city’s year-old Downtown Market has achieved a “Gold” LEED certificate, making it one of the first urban markets in the United States to achieve the standard set by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), market officials announced Wednesday, Aug.6.
“Sustainability, community health and accessibility to local food is the goal of the Downtown Market, and as one of the first LEED Gold Certified public markets in the country, we are proud to continue these practices on a daily basis,” said Mimi Fritz, president and CEO of the Downtown Market in a news release.
The market, which opened last year at 435 Ionia Avenue SW, also is the first project to receive USGBC’s Urban Agriculture credit, which awards a point during the LEED certification process to projects that improve human health and well-being, community involvement, and education on food production.
To receive the Urban Agriculture pilot credit, projects must meet certain requirements, such as allocating a certain amount of square footage to be used for growing space.
Hugh Boyd, the lead architect for the $30 million market, said the LEED designation means more than a plaque on the wall.
“Because of the emphasis on foods and health and sustainability, this really reinforces the whole mission of the downtown market,” said Boyd in a telephone interview. “The whole building becomes part of the educational process.”
Materials from old warehouses previously on the building’s site were reused to build as much as possible of the current building.
The massive wood beams from the original structure were used as the design feature in the main structure and the pre-existing concrete was ground up to make the paving material for the Market’s parking lot.
“Creating a LEED-certified building and incorporating as many sustainability aspects as possible was very important to the project’s overall goals,” said Boyd of the project he designed with Progressive AE. Pioneer Construction of Grand Rapids was the construction manager.
“In addition to creating a sustainable building and using energy efficiently, we wanted to keep operating costs down for the tenants who are running their small businesses here.”