Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Green building code takes shape

$38,000 soon to be available for energy audits

Express Staff Writer

Hailey's Sustainable Building Advisory Committee will present a draft "green building code" to the City Council in July. Meanwhile, the committee will undertake educational and outreach initiatives to explain the goals of the proposed ordinance.

Hailey Planner Mariel Platt said the committee will recommend to the council that changes be made to the city's building code to increase energy efficiencies in new construction by 10 percent.

The new code would apply to all new residential construction and building alterations that break through the existing building envelope, such as new openings for windows or doors. The code would also apply to heated additions over 500 square feet. Re-roofing projects and interior changes would not trigger the new code.

Platt provided clarification of some of the issues surrounding the draft ordinance to the council Monday. She said that after presenting her goals to Sustain Blaine representatives in April, the new code raised the concern of developers, including George Kirk.

"After a thorough examination, they were all in general agreement that it was a good thing," she said.

The committee will hold a series of public events this summer geared toward promoting the new code.

The committee has presented "energy audits" as a means of measuring a building's energy efficiency according to the Home Energy Rating System index, a points scoring system established by the Residential Energy Services Network. The network was created with the help of the National Association of State Energy Officials.

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

Local rebates for energy audits from a $38,000 federal grant acquired by the city for that purpose could be available this summer. Energy audits cost on average $450 for homes under 3,500 square feet.

Tony Evans:

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