Cooper’s Efforts Help Bluegrass Go Green

by J. R. Enderle

Lexington might just become a greener place because of Transylvania junior Daniel Cooper. After completing an almost yearlong internship with Andrea James, first district council member of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, Cooper will present Project GREEN to the council for consideration.

Junior Daniel Cooper outlines proposal concerning Project GREEN which is to be presented to local officials.

According to Cooper, Project GREEN (an acronym for Growth, Renewal, Energy and Environment) will make Lexington a more environmentally friendly city. The project represents what Cooper calls a “green overlay,” something he wants to implement across the city.

“It took us a long time to define the term,” Cooper said. “We wanted to make it as specific and nonspecific as we needed to.”

Cooper said that Project GREEN will be based around four major recommendations that operate on and address a range of issues.

He said that the first recommendation seeks to reverse codified obstacles to sustainability. This important step revises the city’s engineering manuals.

Right now, Cooper said, they “prohibit businesses from being environmentally friendly.”

The second recommendation Cooper will present would have Lexington participate in a LEED pilot for neighborhood development. LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a rating system for green buildings and provides a set of benchmarks for environmentally sustainable construction.

This program would be tailored to fit the city, “in case there is something that doesn’t apply to Lexington,” Cooper said, or if there are other initiatives that could be added.

Cooper’s third recommendation is that the city compensate environmentally friendly businesses and individuals with grants or tax credits. Cooper said that under Project GREEN money and credits would be allocated based on a point system that would reward such practices as on-site energy generation. To assist in the implementation of Project GREEN, an oversight committee would be created.

Cooper said that not only did his work benefit the city, but he gained exposure to the way politics works.

Cooper said that the internship was “a great experience. … For a long time I’ve wanted to go into law and politics.”

A lot of people complain that politics can be messy, Copper said, “but it takes a lot of work to get something done.”

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