Historic building goes green

GLENS FALLS In 1865 when the building at 6 Warren St. was built, no one was concerned with global warming or pollution. It had been built to house the Cowles business empire of Don Cowles, prominent Glens Falls businessman. In 2007 that same building has gone green, and was presented to the public at a ceremony last week attended by the states first lady.

The Barton Group opened its new corporate headquarters at the spot after renovating the building with geothermal heating, rooftop plants and many other amenities to reduce emissions and power consumption.

Through its hundred-and-thirty-year history, Bartons been an excellent steward of its properties, said Chuck Bracken, Barton chairman. He mentioned the proposed wind farm on Barton land in Johnsburg and said the company had applied for a permit from the Adirondack Park Agency.

We hope to be generating power within the next three years, he said.

Bracken said the building was a pioneer in efficiency and the company decided to go for the LEED gold certification. LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is the nationally accepted benchmark for design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.

Even though it cost more, we must be leaders on the green front, Bracken said. In future years, non-LEED certified buildings will be the exception.

Silda Wall Spitzer, wife of Gov. Eliot Spitzer, said the building is a model for the emerging green industry.

It underscores the critical role that green buildings must play in fighting global warming, she said. I have spearheaded an effort to make the Executive Mansion green, and this 1865 building is a powerful symbol that beautiful 19th century architecture can stand side by side with 21st century technology.

Glens Falls Mayor Le Roy Akins recalled the urban renewal movement of 40 years ago.

Then it was tear down and rebuild, he said. Not any more. Our treasures in downtown Glens Falls are our historic architecture.

Along with efficient heating and plants on the roof, the building has efficient appliances, low flow water, and even the flooring and chairs were chosen for sustainability and made of recycled materials. High efficiency lighting has been installed and natural light is used wherever possible. The workspaces have been created to be healthy, comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.

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