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Chatham commissioners seek more energy savings with flexible LEED building requirements

Posted Thursday, March 10, 2011

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Pittsboro, NC - The Chatham County Board of Commissioners voted on March 7, 2011, to provide more flexibility in determining which county facilities would meet U.S. Green Building Council LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards for energy efficiency and environmental construction practices.

“This should be decided on a case-by-case basis to ensure the best use of county funds to meet our goal of being energy-efficient and environmentally friendly,” said Commissioner Chairman Brian Bock.

The previous Chatham County Board of Commissioners had adopted a policy that required all new buildings or renovations at least 20,000 square feet in size to be designed and built to LEED Silver standards. The commissioners’ action on March 7 rescinds that policy.

“There are times that LEED standards may be the best way to go, but the current policy does not give us any alternative route, even if another option would save substantial taxpayer dollars while also saving energy and using environmentally-friendly materials,” said Commissioner Pam Stewart.

Stewart added, “We can achieve strong energy savings through effective building design and management of construction. We need to see more data actually documenting that LEED standards actually generate the long-term cost savings claimed. We can be good environmental stewards without necessarily using LEED standards for all facilities.”

Commissioner Vice Chair Walter Petty said it “comes down to giving ourselves flexibility. Certainly, we don’t want any building that is not energy efficient, but we do want to also consider the fact that sometimes the LEED standards may not fit well with a specific facility.”

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Chatham commissioners seek more energy savings with flexible LEED building requirements

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