Area realtors hold sustainability summit

LIMA — In marketing real estate, environmental sustainability is becoming increasingly important in attracting investors. In Lima, the West Central Association of Realtors received some help in promoting that sustainability through a $3,000 grant from the National Association of Realtors for that purpose and a Smart Growth grant to support activities that promote that smart growth development.

To accomplish that goal, the association held a Sustainability Summit Thursday at Veterans Memorial Civic Center, bringing in businesses, investors, non-profits and elected officials to promote education and collaboration regarding best practices in environmental sustainability from the individual property level to the community.

“We’ve been honored to have quite a few speakers here today,” West Central Association of Realtors president Jaylene Smith said. “We have the mayor from Lima, of course, Mayor [Sharetta] Smith, the Athens mayor, Steve Patterson here, we have Allen Soil and Water [Conservation District] and we have some great speakers here.”

In an elected officials panel, Mayors Smith and Patterson outlined some of the initiatives their respective communities have made in terms of promoting renewable energy and reducing the community’s carbon usage. Athens has been incorporating solar energy, including initiating a resident-approved carbon fee to help fund solar investments on public land.

“One of the main projects we’re working on right now is a 2.4-megawatt solar array system on our community center campus,” he said. Patterson noted that the energy savings will eventually reduce the energy costs at the city’s wastewater treatment plant down to zero.

Mayor Smith highlighted Lima’s increased transition to more efficient LED lighting in public buildings and spaces, along with the city being in the early stages of a $3.4 million project to build a 2-megawatt floating solar panel that will float in the Twin Lake Reservoir, a project which could save as much as $1 million per year in energy costs for the city.

Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0391 or on Twitter @cmkelly419.