We live in a fast changing world where businesses and governments have to adapt to the times in order to move forward. Earlier this month, the Democrat reported on efforts to renovate and expand …
We live in a fast changing world where businesses and governments have to adapt to the times in order to move forward. Earlier this month, the Democrat reported on efforts to renovate and expand Bethel’s Town Hall in order to address poor insulation, uncontrolled air leakage, an inefficient boiler and inadequate space for its 11 employees and visiting constituents.
The town recently received four grants totaling $169,186 from the New York State Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which will go toward the estimated $1.3 million cost of the project.
Bethel’s Town Hall upgrades are designed to meet Source Net Zero criteria through adherence to Passive House Standards and eliminate the use of fossil fuels.
Passive House standard refers to certain criteria of energy efficient construction that includes airtightness, heating, cooling and overall energy consumption. The International Passive House Association says this method requires very little energy to achieve a comfortable temperature year round, making conventional heating and air conditioning systems obsolete.
It’s exciting to see one of our local governments, even on a modest scale for a building that isn’t incredibly large, embrace a forward-thinking strategy when it comes to its energy usage.
Town Supervisor Daniel Sturm has explained that this project would not result in any tax increase and would actually save the town money on energy costs in the long term.
It’s not very often that a municipal project has no apparent downside, but this appears to be one of those instances. The renovations are needed and perhaps long overdue. They will save the town money in the long run and reaffirm Bethel’s place as a local leader in renewable energy.
Credit also belongs to the Sustainable Bethel Committee, a dedicated group of volunteers who research opportunities and advise the Town Board on initiatives to conserve energy, move to renewable energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
This will be an interesting year for Bethel as construction continues on the community solar project on the Town’s capped landfill and sand mine. Bethel has their sights on earning a Silver Certification as a Climate Smart Community and is well on its way to achieving such distinction.
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