I doubt the floors will be green linoleum

All of us here at Zeke’s Blog are all for bringing more sheen and gloss to downtown Reading. After all, we live in a crassly materialistic society and why not keep up with the Joneses?So it’s good news that the Berks County Community Foundation’s new headquarters near the proposed GoggleWorks Center for the Arts at Second and Washington streets will be the first environmentally friendly “green” building in downtown Reading.The foundation’s $1.5 million, two-story headquarters will feature geothermal heat pumps, water recycling, solar power and – get this – a grass roof. OK, I will squelch the temptation to make a cheap remark that perhaps all female visitors will be required to wear grass skirts.The grass roof will help reduce energy use by keeping the building cooler.By the way, if the term “green” building isn’t yet stitched into the binding of your vocabulary, its prerequisites are: Encourage urban redevelopment; be accessible by public transportation; use landscape and building design to reduce heat pockets; reduce water use by 20 percent to 30 percent; optimize energy conservation and use renewable energy sources; use local and regional materials or recycled materials; maintain indoor environmental quality; and use innovative design.All laudable goals, I might add. Can you imagine Cotton Street lined with such “green” buildings? People will be double-parked on every block as motorists rubberneck in awe.“I hope this building will be an example to other developers that it is possible to build environmentally friendly buildings in an urban setting,” said Foundation president Kevin K. Murphy.Hopefully, all the slumlords and crack house owners in downtown Reading won’t envision this “green” building concept as merely a fool’s façade.If all their blighted buildings suddenly would adopt the “green” house format, the abandon and fury that characterizes city zoning undoubtedly would vanish quicker than a street corner drug transaction.Of course, slumlords and crack dealers aren’t by nature exactly meticulous craftsmen, so the jury still is out. Still, there’s always the hope that they will realize that syntax and structure are everything.For instance, the Berks County Community Foundation’s posh new digs will make extensive use of technology. Computers will monitor the building’s internal systems and its conference center will be equivalent to meeting rooms owned by Fortune 500 companies. Sounds like a great place to hold state-of-the-art City Council meetings.Already the hi-tech wizardy of the proposed edifice has attracted Mayor Tom McMahon’s eternal optimism. “If it’s done right, it could be a national attraction,” McMahon said. Murphy, to his credit, kept things in a bit of perspective by saying: “This doesn’t mean that the average family, instead of packing up and going to Disney World, will come to this. But it will have somewhat of a tourism element for people interested in the technology.” I, for one, have canceled our family’s planned trip to Disney and instead will save our bucks to tour the Foundation’s fancy joint.I imagine, tucked away in the Second and Washington ambience, it’s going to sparkle like fireworks in a catacomb.