Unlike seemingly most governments today, the Bainbridge Island City Council wants to set a good example.
So it might take another look at the new Police-Court Building.
At its recent work session, the council heard from the Green Building Task Force. The council supported its interim recommendations and asked staff to prepare a draft ordinance.
Green buildings reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve water, reduce operating costs, improve indoor air quality, and provide other health, social and environmental benefits. Under the recommendations, mandatory green building requirements and third party certifications would be required for all new construction and remodels, except for repairs, smaller remodels, and state funded affordable housing projects.
The council will continue to study the recommendations at its Sept.15 study session and may schedule a public hearing in October.
Mayor Leslie Schneider, Deputy Mayor Joe Deets and councilmembers Christy Carr and Kirsten Hytopoulos all said they would support taking another look at the Police-Court Building, which was already approved by a hearing examiner.
“We have to lead by example,” Hytopoulos said, adding she had “angst” about approving the Police-Court Building before the green measures were in place.
Councilmember Rasheem Nassar said she was concerned about some of the costs related to green building requirements. She supported incentives recommended by the task force to encourage participation.
“I’m not concerned about affordability,” Hytopoulous said, adding she’s more interested in mandates than incentives. Green building “is going to cost all of us.”
Task force members said that while upfront costs may seem high with green building the long-term return on investment is “attractive.” They also said while they favored the idea of incentives in some instances they didn’t know where the city would come up with the funds, although they recommended a permit fee refund.
Senior planner Peter Best said the task force has met five times in two months to work on the recommendations. Some of their goals include: conserving electrical energy because we’re near capacity on the grid and another substation is not desired and reducing landfill waste. Concerns include affordability, the environment and economics.
The first step is Carbon Reduction, followed by Carbon Neutral and then Carbon Storage.
•Implement green building codes to address site sustainability, water- and energy-use efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and the impact on the atmosphere, materials and resources by buildings.
•Encourage use of green building materials and techniques in construction. Partner with island experts to draft standards.
•Use new technologies to reduce environmental impacts such as solar panels, electric and hybrid vehicles, high-efficiency lights and heating systems.
•Employ conservation design methods and principles such as low impact development techniques for managing storm and waste water, green building materials, high-efficiency heating and lighting systems.
•Encourage conservation of electrical energy, especially during peak usage, and encourage energy-saving building code strategies, local renewable energy and other cost-effective approaches.
Public facilities only
Encourage sustainability. New taxpayer-funded buildings shall use carbon-neutral energy for heating, cooling and operational use. Ensure beneficial indoor air quality. Promote energy conservation measures including: Retrofitting offices, shops and garages with high-efficiency lighting; converting vehicles to hybrid fuel vehicles. Converting to energy efficient traffic signals and lighting. Adopting incentive programs and design standards that encourage renewable energy sources and energy-efficient appliances. Incorporate energy generation when possible.
Strive for reduced greenhouse gas emissions by integrating climate change into city planning process. Establish benchmarks for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, assess conditions and progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from municipal, commercial, residential and transportation-related land uses, projects and programs. Support public education on greenhouse gas emissions. Create new conservation villages permit process to apply outside of designated centers to increase housing choices, including affordable housing. Increase energy conservation and efficiency, including customer-owned generation. Increase diversion of waste from landfill.