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Oldham graduate designs local building

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By Brent Schanding

A Crestwood optometry building was built to be pleasing to the eye - but its LEED certification makes it equally agreeable to the environment.

The new earth-conscicous Bluegrass Eye Center was designed by 29-year-old architect Rachel Hardy Worley, a 1999 Oldham County High School graduate, who now lives in Louisville.   "This was one of those dream jobs. I grew up in Crestwood, so it was an honor to do a project in my hometown," Worley said. "It also was a perfect marriage of my interests to what the doctors desired. They gave me design liberties that many clients do not, and trusted the design team. Now, we all have a building we are proud of."

The building, located at 6400 Westwind Way, off the Ky. 329 bypass, features geothermal heating and cooling, solar hot water heating, the use of recycled and sustainable materials, native landscaping, passive day-lighting techniques, insulated concrete form walls, sunscreens and low-emissivity windows, which have a thin coating on the window to reduce heat transfer.

Doctors Matt Blair, John Distler and Anne Huntington - whose offices occupy about 8,000 square feet of the two-story, 19,500 square foot building - own it.

"When we began this venture and learned of some local public facilities being LEED certified, we knew it was the responsible thing to do," Dr. Blair said in a prepared statement. "Energy costs are going up and we are learning more and more how to help out the environment."

Worley stressed the importance of that sustainable design.

"Not so much for 'tree-hugging' reasons that it often gets dismissed for, but for common sense reasons," she said. "Sustainable design encourages energy efficiency, which corresponds to lower operating costs. It makes sense to choose regional materials to promotes jobs within the area, and reduce fuel or shipping expenses."

About 75 percent of the project's construction waste was diverted from the landfill, she said.

The new Bluegrass Eye Center building is believed to be the only privately-owned "green" building in Oldham County. The main branch of the public library applied for LEED certification and also boasts many environmentally-friendly features.

E-mail us about this story at bschanding@lcni.com