Thursday, July 8, 2010
Pittsburgh City Council members listened to members of the mayor’s office and the Green Building Alliance this morning talk about what they should add to a bill that would require all city-owned buildings to undergo an energy audit. The measure is part of a package of bills introduced by Councilman Bill Peduto aimed at making the city a bit more "green." City Sustainability Coordinator Lindsay Baxter says she would like to see an amendment that would make sure the audits would not just gather dust. “We would want to say for all improvements that have a pay-back period of ten years or less, they will be implemented,” says Baxter, “so we are not making every single change that could be made to a building but we are making all the ones that make sense, especially economically.” Baxter says she can be flexible on the payback time. She says she would also like to see all of the money saved through the improvements be put back into the Green Initiatives Trust Fund. “ We could blow through the money we have right now in one year and not get half of the buildings improved,” says Baxter. Right now the fund has $85,000 with an expectation of another $150-200,000 being added at the end of the year. The city owns 330 buildings. Baxter thinks a threshold should be set, under which a building would not be assessed. She suggested 5,000 square feet to eliminate sheds and bathrooms. That would leave about 75% of the city’s holdings to be evaluated. Peduto says he sees all the suggestions as “friendly amendment” and hopes to have the bill passed in the next few weeks.