Ketchum, Idaho officials hope to approve 'green' building code for residential construction early next year, before expanding rules to cover commercial buildings

LOS ANGELES , December 13, 2011 () – City officials in Ketchum, Idaho, are recommending the adoption of a sustainable building code for residential construction based on the existing National Green Building Standard, according to a report by the Idaho Mountain Express.

The city council is drafting an ordinance which it hopes will lead to the construction of more energy-efficient, green buildings. The proposed ordinance will be examined in January 2012, and if approved, council staff will then start drafting a sustainable building code for commercial construction.

Ketchum Planning Associate Rebecca Bundy presented ideas for the code to the council at its meeting last Monday. She said it should reflect Ketchum's status as a regional and national resort leader, but would be drafted in a way that minimized the cost and maximized the benefit to the contractor and homeowner. "There's very little that's mandatory," she added.

Under the proposal, buildings must include a certain number of energy-efficient and sustainable features. Builders can choose a prescriptive path which sets out requirements for energy efficiency, or a performance path which allows greater creativity but requires the structure to pass a pressurization test measuring energy loss.

An online tool can be accessed from the National Association of Homebuilders that allows various design features to be mixed and matched to give the desired level of performance, said Bundy, adding that the tool and checklist "opens your eyes to what you could do."

Bundy said adopting the code would create a “culture shift” in the community’s views on design and construction.

The primary source of this article is the Idaho Mountain Express, Ketchum, Idaho, on Dec. 9, 2011.

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