Cities weigh green features vs. expense in new buildings

  • Article by: MARY JANE SMETANKA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 27, 2009 - 9:42 AM

Cities are looking for green building methods they can cost-justify and bypassing those they cannot.

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bikemilesAug. 27, 0912:13 AM

Any liberal progressive democratic Gorebot will tell you that a grass roof on the Target Center or a 60 year payback solar panel it is justified because it weill "prime" future mass-production. This despite the fact that this strategy has been tried for the last thiry years and has always failed.

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utilityAug. 27, 09 7:31 AM

So 124 penetrations between surface and drinking water aquifers is environmental? Consider your assumptions folks. The 30% efficiency obtained to send nuc/coal/gas fired electric generation to users in order to replace 90% efficient gas fired appliances is wise? Of course not. Do the taxpayers of Edina a favor and put in a $120,000 natural gas system and realize the lower hassles and lower tax levy for the next 30 years. And leave our aquifer alone.

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mckensm0Aug. 27, 09 7:45 AM

These projects are about making money for "alternative energy" companies and have nothing to do with the environment.

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digalvinAug. 27, 0910:17 AM

So if "state of the art" aka "cutting edge" is too expensive, why not look at bidding on the #2 or even the #3 choices? Go back down the list until costs < benefits. Instead of geo-thermal, why not look at solar thermal? Instead of forced air why not look at radiant floors? Properly sited shade trees might cost less than a bigger AC system. For that matter, instead of looking only at the HVAC elec. or nat. gas bills, why not look at super-insulation for the walls & roof and low-flow water usages? Instead of pervious pavement look at collecting the run off into rain gardens. Granted, somebody has to be the first to try it and civic building projects make great tests/demos but Where does it say "only the very best and newest is good enough for our taxpayers?"

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mnborn2Aug. 27, 09 8:21 PM

It sounds like these people are making sound decisions and making the most of OUR money. Too bad Rybek doesn't think this way.

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K6IIIAug. 29, 09 5:18 PM

To the comments posted previously, the acquifer will not be penetrated by the Geothermal Heating/Cooling system. It is a closed-loop radiator designed for a life cycle of 30+ years, and should pay for itself in between 5-15 years, depending on where natural gas prices go. The bid did come in at a sky-high figure. With other contractors onboard, it should not be at a significant premium to traditional HVAC. Cost savings are both for natural gas heating in the winter and electric AC in the summer. Depending on the size of the system, either all or almost all of the natural gas use is eliminated. All summer AC use is elminated even with an undersized system.

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econerdAug. 30, 0911:20 AM

I find it funny how the "nay-sayers" come out of the woodwork when the articles touting the technologies they are opposed to get press. Yes, "green" costs more. Yes, "alternative" groups get money. That's capitalism. Those "alternative" groups are also taking huge risks offering these new ideas. But when we do nothing, who continues to get "rich"? And then, ultimately, if we try nothing different, what is the long term cost to all of us? The number one reason children go to the E.R. now is for respiratory ailments. What we don't take of now, we will pay to restore later. So, go ahead, keep knocking those unproven ideas. At least some people are bold and brave enough to try something different for the benefit of all. PS: The cost of utilities and maintenance on "green buildings" is fractional compared with the old model so you "nay-sayers" take the old; I'll take the new. Just shut up and let us try.

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