Friday, April 2, 2010

Hailey could require energy audits

Home Energy Rating Index presented at City Council

Express Staff Writer

Homebuilders and those doing remodels in Hailey may soon have to consider including energy conservation measurements in their designs.

Hailey's Sustainable Building and Planning Ad Hoc Advisory Committee is considering a recommendation to the City Council that new homes and remodels undergo a required "energy audit" that measures a building's energy conservation according to the HERS (Home Energy Rating System) index.

"The committee is looking at anything that triggers a building permit and affects the energy efficiency of a home," City Planner Mariel Platt said.

Energy audits often use equipment such as blower doors, which measure the extent of leaks in the building envelope, and infrared cameras, which reveal hard-to-detect areas of air infiltration and missing insulation, and a duct-blaster test to assess the leakiness of the heating duct system.

The City Council recently approved creation of the Sustainable Building and Planning Ad Hoc Advisory Committee to help promote sustainable building and development strategies in the city.

The committee consists of: Richard Meyer, Chip Maguire, Garth Callaghan, Jay Cone, Jolyon Sawrey, Craig Barry, Troy Quesnel, Brian Bothwell and Mat Hall.

A recent energy audit of Councilwoman Carol Brown's home was presented at a council meeting last week. The test showed that she could save $6,680 over 20 years by caulking, upgrading windows and sealing the ducting in her home. A comparative test conducted on a less energy-efficient Hailey home showed a potential cost savings of $38,980 over 20 years by increasing insulation, changing the heating system and improving the sealing around the building envelope.

Energy audits cost on average $450 for homes under 3,500 square feet.

The creation of the Sustainable Building and Planning Ad Hoc Advisory Committee was in response to a recommendation by Hailey's Environmental Leadership Program that the city's sustainability efforts would be most efficiently directed toward updating building and zoning codes.

The committee will make a recommendation on requiring energy audits to the council on Monday, April 5.

Tony Evans:

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