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Letter: Design RiverBend to be a net-zero energy facility

Design RiverBend to be a net-zero energy facility

Excellent suggestion by Steve Weathers of the Erie County Industrial Development Agency to consider building a net-zero energy facility at the Bethlehem Steel site.

Building net-zero facilities does not have to be any more expensive than building conventional facilities. The National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden Colo., proved the concept a few years ago.

We have the local resources to produce net-zero buildings. As one who has advocated for net-zero buildings at RiverBend and other taxpayer-funded projects, I encounter two major hurdles.

The first is lack of knowledge of these technologies. I regularly deliver continuing education to architects and engineers. Almost no one I talk to uses the Advanced Energy Design Guides, which are produced by the U.S. Green Building Council and U.S. Department of Energy, along with a few other organizations. These guides contain proven cost-effective energy-conservation measures.

The other hurdle is lack of political will. New York State agencies are bound by law to build state-funded projects with the most cost-effective and energy-efficient materials. That is clearly not being enforced.

At RiverBend, it’s cruelly ironic that the building owner, New York State, does not insist on prioritizing the use of local cost-effective and energy-efficient materials in the design of a facility that will be home to green manufacturing.

Consequently, the opportunity to employ hundreds in green-skilled construction jobs may be lost.

Marty J. Walters