The Town of Epping - Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Design
The Epping Planning Board placed Article 22, an Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Design Ordinance, on the town warrant in March 2007 to simultaneously promote economic sustainability and protect the global environment. The Planning Board’s goal was to encourage developers to think about energy efficiency at the pre-design stage. The ordinance passed by a vote of 700-606 on March 13, 2007.
This ordinance was inspired by OEP’s senior planner Jennifer Czysz’s model energy efficient development ordinance for the NHDES Regional Environmental Planning Program. The ordinance compliance method was similar to the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). A point score system was developed based on the square footage of a building, the larger the structure, the more points assessed. Points are assigned based on a variety of energy efficiencies including HVAC design, building orientation, reduction in water usage, source of building materials, daylighting, and on-site electricity production.
Epping places significant importance on distributed generation in the form of clean burning cogeneration units, generally not included in the few existing green ordinances, and also encourages on-site renewable power generation. Steps were taken to simplify the point system for a small community, making the system easier for residents and small business owners to understand. Most compliance options will have no cost increase or be eligible for tax rebates and credits keeping their increased up-front cost at a minimum. The Board recognized that a gentle approach was necessary with the introduction of the ordinance since Epping is the first small community in the nation to take this step.
Researching the issue before the ordinance was placed on the warrant, the Epping Planning Board looked at two developments in town: the WS Goodrich showroom and the Toyota dealership. Both facilities were found to be compliant with the ordinance (despite the fact that they predated its adoption) and are predicting a significant benefit in energy cost savings.
To get the ordinance passed, a massive education campaign was completed to confront issues of cost, flexibility, and benefits.
The next step for Epping is taking a look at their municipal buildings. The Planning Board is undertaking energy efficiency upgrades for the Town Hall and the school administrative building. With upgraded fixtures, new windows, and converting the boiler systems to cogeneration units, the Board is hoping to achieve a 35% reduction in annual energy costs.
For more information on the Epping Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Design Ordinance go to www.nhplanning.com. Clay Mitchell, Epping Town Planner, has also developed a Planner’s Handbook on Energy Efficiency and Climate Change. It is available on the same Web site under Energy.
The Epping Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Design Ordinance meets two of the eight NH Smart Growth Principles:
Principle #6 - Protect environmental quality …
Principle #8 - Manage growth locally …