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New Mutual of Omaha tower, central library will be sustainable, representatives say, but details sparse

Posted at 11:31 AM, Aug 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-26 12:31:39-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Representatives from the Mutual of Omaha and Heritage Omaha say their development projects will be environmentally sustainable, but that it's too early for many details.

Mutual of Omaha spokesperson Jim Nolan says the company is committed to environmental sustainability in its downtown Omaha tower project.

"We are deep into the design of the tower, and sustainability is one of our core principles," he said in an email to 3 News Now on Thursday. "But we don’t have details to share at this point in terms of specific designations or certifications ... Design and development of a building like this is extremely complicated and it takes some time to nail down these kinds of details."

Heritage Omaha, the nonprofit planning to build Omaha's new central library and donate it to the city, shared the commitment, but had a little more information to share.

At the June event showcasing details of the central library project, sustainability was listed as a pillar, which a speaker said included environmental sustainability.

Rachel Jacobson, president of Heritage Omaha, told 3 News Now in an email this week the library "should be as efficient as possible" and will seek LEED certification. But she said the project is only through schematic design, "so there are still lots of decisions to be made as we march toward opening."

LEED certification is a widespread standard of green buildings which includes a rating system. One example of a LEED building in Omaha is the TD Ameritrade HQ building, visible near I-680 and Dodge.

She also said they aim for the building to last a hundred years. She said the spaces will be flexible so it can adapt to evolving needs over that period. And, although she acknowledged 72nd and Dodge Streets is a car-centric area, it will include an entrance on the west side for pedestrians and people arriving by public transit.

"We’re trying to model and imagine a more sustainable, multi-use, and human-scale environment for the future," she said.

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