October’s Green meeting was last night. The agenda was long, but we had some big items up. first of all we got the Stormwater Mapping Grant! This will give us over $100k to hire a consultant to map the historical water flows of the village, as well as the current flows. This will give us hard concrete data on future planning for infiltration vs retention ponds, past developments effects on the watershed and hopefully allow us to start backcasting to get ensure our future looks more like our past-and limit our impact to the watershed. One of the coolest possibilities of this grant is the implementation of a Stormwater Utility. With the data in hand we can look into assessing a monthly fee to landowners based on the amount to runoff from their property. When Big Box Retail comes to town, they will now have a monetary incentive to invest in infiltration ponds, large scale rain gardens on the edges of buildings, etc. Is this big? YES!
Also on the docket was a discussion of the forthcoming LEED-H green building standards vs the current Energy Star ratings. The discussion boiled down to 2 groups of arguments. Energy Star is an existing, accepted standard that at least one large local builder is currently using drastically increasing the ease of convincing other developers and future home buyers of the advantages. On the flip side LLED H is still in pilot and up until now has focus on larger commercial and government building projects-the average home-buyer will not have a working knowledge of it and will need some education to appreciate the advantages. Also Energy Star is focused on maximising the current building code, and then stacking the house with more efficient appliances-still working within the current building paradigms and achieving an important, but not huge 15% efficiency increase. LEED, however starts breaking out of the box with its focus on site selection, use of recycled building materials, reduction of waste in the building process, focusing on environmentally friendly landscape design, total house size and a myriad other items. Put another way, if you scroll down to page 21 to find the LEED H ratings checklist you will see that a Silver rated home must achieve 50 points-and building an Energy Star certified home will only earn you 16 points! LEED is a much more holistic design philosophy. In the end we have chosen to pursue the LEED standard, and as a first step we are initiating discussions with the ‘greenest’ (different than Green) builder in the area to begin the road to them entering in Leeds Pilot Program.
Look for more updates as we get closer to rolling out the Residential Building Standards in 2007!
Filed under: Sustainable Development