More than 20 local architects, builders, and green building professionals signed a letter to our Town Manager. Here is what we said....
Dear Mr. Bockleman:
We, the undersigned residents or friends of Amherst believe that, as the Town embarks on the construction of new municipal buildings, these buildings must be Zero Energy (ZE). The planetary climate crisis demands it. The urgency related to climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions is increasing each year. Furthermore we know it is both financially and architecturally feasible now in 2017.
By definition a ZE building produces enough on site renewable energy to meet its own annual energy consumption requirements. Buildings are an essential component of local government sustainability and climate action planning, with ZE building initiatives an important step for implementation.
We understand that it will need commitment and innovation to build to a Zero Energy standard the new Department of Public Works and the new Fire Station, as well as the major renovation and addition to the Jones Library and any school construction project. But we trust that such innovation will inspire support from the voters of Amherst once it is understood that there will not be significant extra cost.
Amherst is well situated to embark on this venture. As Jonathan Wright states in his Guest Column in the Gazette on July 13, 2017 about the Kern Center and the Town Building and Water department assistance, “the governmental collaboration here is universally envied. Further, the growth of cultural tourism around sustainable development, agriculture and the education that underlies them bode well for the future of this region.”
It is time to use the Zero Energy standard in all buildings. We trust that architects and engineers who are interested in designing such Amherst public buildings will be versed in the complementary aspects of location, indoor air quality, non-polluting materials, and water efficiency.
A warrant article is planned for the Amherst Fall Town Meeting that will mandate all future public buildings meet the ZE standard.
Many of the signatories of this letter have worked in the construction industry or been closely associated with ZE buildings. We stand ready to assist the Town in creating RFP’s for designers.
Bruce Coldham, Retired Architect Nancy Eddy, Former Chair Amherst Select Board, and Director, Hitchcock Center Mary Kraus, Architect Mark Ledwell, Builder John W. Olver, Retired Congressman Anne Perkins, Retired Builder Chris Riddle, Retired Architect Aelan B. Tierney, Architect Jonathan Wright, Builder
(and many more from whom we are waiting for official permission to put their names on the website)