December 22, 2007
Energy audit planned
City Hall plans what officials are calling an energy audit of municipal buildings, an effort to save money on gas, electricity and water and advance the local government’s environmental efforts.
The Park City Council recently agreed to a deal with a firm known as Johnson Controls to study 24 municipal buildings, including well-used properties like the Park City Library and Education Center, the Racquet Club, the Park City Ice Arena and the China Bridge parking garage.
The firm is expected to recommend ways the buildings can be made more energy efficient, and Johnson officials have told City Hall carbon-dioxide emissions likely can be reduced by between 15 and 20 percent, according to Alison Butz, who directs Park City’s environmental programs. She says the firm has indicated the local government could cut $100,000 in bills annually.
"I think it’s going to be huge," Butz says.
In a preliminary review of Park City, Johnson has indicated City Hall could make $4 million in upgrades. Staffers and City Councilors would consider the options before pledging money, though.
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Butz says the $4 million includes upgrades like replacing boilers, installing more insulation and putting in high-tech lighting systems that control the brightness of lights depending on whether there are people in a room.
Butz expects Johnson will complete its work in March, as Park City officials start their annual budget talks.
Three firms submitted bids, and Butz says Johnson’s was the lowest and the most innovative.
City Hall has made environmental efforts a hallmark of the government in recent years, and officials have especially tried to reduce the amount of carbon-dioxide emissions. Programs include using cleaner-burning fuel in municipal vehicles and purchasing wind-generated power.
Building figures climb higher
Park City’s construction industry pushed its yearly totals to $235.5 million in November, with two slopeside projects buoying the numbers, the Building Department reports.
According to the department, builders in November pulled 73 permits valued at a combined $17.6 million. The total dropped sharply from the October figure, when the industry posted a strong month at about $43.8 million, but was up from the previous November.
Ron Ivie, the chief building official, says the department issued permits at Silver Star, a project at Park City Mountain Resort, and for Snowberry, a project in Empire Pass at Deer Valley. The two total 48 units and account for about $13 million of the November sum, the Building Department says.
"It’s busy," Ivie says, indicating builders are scurrying to try to finish projects before the holidays, when scores of visitors vacation locally.
The department, meanwhile, issued permits for five houses, valued at almost $2.7 million combined, and 44 alterations and additions, mostly to residential properties. Those are valued at about $1.4 million.
The number of electrical, plumbing and mechanical permits was mixed compared to the previous month and November 2006.
The department’s inspectors averaged 309 inspections each day in November, beating the 243 daily in October and the 210 each day in November 2006.
The bellwether construction industry in September set an all-time record for a year. The previous mark was $173.3 million, set in 2006.
Park City is enjoying a hot housing market, with sales reportedly strong across the city. Real estate agents say many buyers see Park City as good deal compared to other mountain resorts like Aspen, Colo., Jackson, Wyo., and Sun Valley, Idaho.
Compiled by Jay Hamburger