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Commissioners Continue Commitment to Environmental Stewardship, Approve New Efficiency Regulations & Issue Solar Bonds

In a move aimed at saving money and improving energy efficiency, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved performance standards for new construction of buildings larger than 10,000 square feet. During the Sept. 15 meeting, Commissioners also unanimously approved $10.5 million in limited obligation bonds for multiple solar panel projects across the County, its school systems, and A-B Tech. Both moves are part of the County’s 2025 Strategic Plan, which looks to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save long-term facility operating costs, and position the County toward having a strong renewable energy portfolio for future generations.

The high-performance building resolution requires certain new construction to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, but the County is not committing to paying for official certification. Rather, new projects will be presented to the Board on a case-by-case basis when costs and other factors will be taken into consideration. “This is a good policy,” stated Commission Chair Brownie Newman. “The value of the [LEED] certification is that it’s not just us saying it will perform, but we had experts in the field confirm that. But it’s the right thing to have flexibility on this.”

Highlights of the performance standards for new construction larger than 10,000 square feet and major renovations of more than 50% of a facility’s area include:

  • Employing cost-effective, green building practices according to LEED standards
  • LEED standards required while official certification is optional
  • Solar ready design
  • Net-zero energy designs when feasible
  • All projects will have life cycle cost analysis presentations to the Board before construction

You can learn more about both resolutions and the County’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gases through its 2025 Strategic Plan below: