Vail debates green building bonus |

Vail debates green building bonus

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado

The issue: Whether to regulate sustainable building and recycling practices within the town of Vail.

Who they talked to: Kristen Bertuglia, the town’s environmental sustainability coordinator.

What they talked about: Bertuglia and the town’s community development department wanted direction from the Town Council on how to build a sustainable zoning and design program.

The town adopted a Vail Environmental Sustainability Strategic Plan in early 2009, which calls for a 20 percent reduction in town energy use by 2020 and a sustainable building code program to encourage or require new construction and major renovations to be more energy efficient.

“If you want an environmental bang for your buck, green building is it,” Bertuglia told the council.

The council agreed that it doesn’t want to overdo it in terms of making people build green, but it does want more education and more means available for people to make the right choices. Some regulations would be good in certain situations, said both Councilwomen Margaret Rogers and Kim Newbury.

The Town Council told Bertuglia to work on developing a point system for new building projects that developers or homeowners would have to meet. Similar systems are in place already in Aspen and Frisco.

Builders would have to meet a certain amount of green building points before being issued a building permit from the town, and going above the minimum requirement would get rewarded with permit fee reductions and other incentives, Bertuglia said.

Bertuglia said the department would work on a point system, as well as identify what kinds of green building or environmentally friendly practices could be regulated by the town. The department will come back with a list of ideas at a future meeting.

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