Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hailey’s lead on energy

Communities that take the lead, rather than taking a poll and then making a decision, usually run far ahead in their quality of life.

The city of Hailey is on that track.

In another step in the city's avowed "green" programs, Hailey is on the verge of creating an energy audit policy that would require new structures and older ones being modified or rebuilt to undergo a sophisticated on-site study to determine ways to stop energy waste and improve energy conservation.

Hailey City Council members thus far have avoided making the energy audits mandatory. Perhaps during the economic pinch, a policy allowing voluntary audits would be more saleable.

Yet, if the city can demonstrate the financial and health values of audits, homeowners and builders will sign up willingly.

The testimonial of Councilwoman Carol Brown is such an incentive. An audit of her home discovered a carbon monoxide problem that could have created a health problem.

In other older homes, audits could turn up energy waste that could be reversed, thus possibly saving homeowners the cost of the studies.

Hailey has cashed in on several significant U.S. and state financial grants it aggressively sought to achieve environmental and energy goals.

In its most ambitious energy-saving program, it used a $234,000 state energy grant to install a solar power generating system at the city wastewater treatment plant in Woodside. Hailey calculates it'll save the city $864,000 over 25 years in energy costs.

That should "light" up the faces of taxpayers.

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