Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ketchum enacts ‘green’ building code

City Council approves standards of national association


By REBECCA MEANY
Express Staff Writer

New restrictions on residential construction in Ketchum are in place, and the lack of dissention from the building community is a sign that there is general agreement on the rules, say city officials.

The Ketchum City Council on Monday approved adoption of the National Green Building Standard, developed by the National Association of Home Builders and the International Code Council, with minor amendments.

The new "green" building code requires residential structures to have a certain number of energy-efficient and sustainable features. Builders and architects may get to that number by a "prescriptive" path or through a "performance" path, which allows them more creativity as long as the structure passes certain tests.

The council identified a green building code as a priority during a goal-setting retreat two years ago. Mayor Randy Hall created a project team to study existing green building codes, conduct outreach and write a draft code.

The city also believes energy-efficient buildings will be a good return on investment for owners.

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"They're perceived as being more valuable," said Associate Planner Rebecca Bundy. "They're selling quicker. They're selling for more. It's really consumer driven."

She said many local builders and architects already are constructing green buildings, but the code serves as an educational tool and gets them "to stretch a little further."

With the third reading Monday and the subsequent vote to approve the code, the new regulations are set to go into effect May 16.

The city later will undertake a green building code for commercial construction.

"I'm really excited to initiate it, to get it rolling," Bundy said.

For questions on the code, contact Bundy at 726-7801 or Rbundy@ketchumidaho.org.

Rebecca Meany: rmeany@mtexpress.com




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