ITHACA, N.Y. -- Ithaca City leaders say earning the award is a breakthrough for businesses.
"This is a major example for our community and other communities around New York State of how this can be done," said Ithaca Mayor Carolyn Peterson.
The MaineSource Food and Party Warehouse in Ithaca is the first grocery store in the Finger Lakes to achieve LEED Silver certification, meaning the building is environmentally friendly.
"The lighting in this store is high-efficient. Not only in terms of energy efficiency, but also providing the best possible lighting for consumers to be able to read product labels and to provide the most natural lighting for product selection and high visibility," said Tracie Hall of the U.S. Green Building Council.
Peterson said, "The first thing I noticed when I came in then, it did not smell new. You cannot smell the chemical smells. There's products in the store so that it's not letting off gases and toxic smells."
While customers may notice the more natural lighting and fresh-smelling air, most of the green technology is in places they'll never even see.
"If you don't know, those doors, when you open them up and they fog, there's door heaters around those frames that, in most places, go 24/7. What the anti-sweat device does is it monitors for that condensation, turns on and off as needed, so you're saving a whole lot of energy," MaineSource Food Vice President Steve Ross said.
The store uses 30 percent less energy and 40 percent less water than other buildings of its size. Local and recycled materials were also used in the construction, but they didn't come cheap. And sticking to LEED guidelines wasn't easy.
"There are hurdles. A lot of work from the city, the engineers, the consultants, the tracking of materials inbound and outbound," Ross said.
But the mayor says if a store this size can become energy efficient...
"This is something people can do in their homes," Peterson said.
Store representatives say they expect the energy-efficient construction top pay off in the long run.