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Summit County Wants Sustainability and Accountability

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Summit County hopes to adopt a policy that would create better sustainability and accountability for county buildings.

The Summit County council will discuss the policy in their meeting Wednesday and could take action on it. Summit County sustainability manager Lisa Yoder said the policy would provide a safety net of sorts for renovations and new construction of county buildings.

“Without some sort of policy we hire an architect, we hire a contractor, Yoder said. "The contractor hires numerous subs and at the end of the day when people occupy the building – who is responsible that building is tight and comfortable and using as little energy as possible? So this policy will look at ensuring quality construction over the 40 to 50 year lifespan of a building.”

The policy outlined the need for a team of three and would require that an energy modeler engineer, a building envelope commissioning agent and a mechanical engineer review all drawings and plans. This team she said, is separate from the architect and contractor and would evaluate all of the options for an energy efficient building.

“So if it pencils out that solar panels provide reduced electricity costs, then it would be included," Yoder said. "But if it doesn’t pencil out, then it would not. So it’s not saying that every new building has to have renewable energy it says, ‘Let’s look at it in the lifecycle, long-term analysis and make it a quality building.’”

Since the new library and services building in Kamas and Transit Center are already underway, this policy wouldn’t apply, but any renovations to the fairgrounds or a jail expansion she said, would.