Do you support adopting high performance building standards for single-family residential properties, and for commercial and multi-family properties?
Building science has made considerable progress in understanding how buildings can be constructed and operated to save resources and support the health and comfort of its occupants. The proposed Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) includes new high-performance standards for both residential and commercial buildings. The proposal would require some manner of third-party green building certification for new construction or substantial renovations that exceed 50% of a building’s pre-renovation market value. It would also require new construction buildings to achieve higher tightness standards, making them less leaky than Georgia Residential Energy Code currently allows.
This proposal was drafted to reflect goals of the 2010 Strategic Plan as further clarified during the UDO’s "Hack the Code," when participants requested that green regulation focus on new development rather than smaller household improvements. This is a revision of the high performance buildings proposal released in July, 2014. Based on early feedback, the original proposal was modified in the following ways:
- Substantial improvement projects will not need to comply with additional building envelope tightness standards.
- Clarity added to ensure no requirements of this proposal will be used to mandate alternations to systems (HVAC etc.) that are not being modified as part of the planned construction process, unless otherwise required by state or local rules and regulations.
- A hardship exemption has been added for applicants to demonstrate that the requirements cannot be met for a specific project.
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There are several attachments that explain the details of the proposed changes. The requirements for commercial and multifamily properties would not become effective until 9 months after the UDO effective date. Single-Family Residential standards would be effective 12 months after that date.
- Attachment 1: The Draft High Performance Building Ordinance Language – this is the proposed code language that would be included in the Draft 2 of the Unified Development Ordinance to be released in late September.
- Attachment 2: High Performance Buildings Overview – This presentation highlights the background and main components of the proposal.
- Attachment 3: High Performance Buildings Examples – This presentation provides a few examples of green building projects here in Decatur and the associated costs.
- Attachments 4-6: National Green Building Standard Examples:
- Attachment 4: A generic example has been created of a 3200 sq. ft. home built to achieve National Green Building Standard’s Silver rating. Costs have been estimated for elements that exceed code or general good building practices.
- Attachment 5 and Attachment 6: 2 additional examples have been developed based on current building projects in the City of Decatur. Attachment 5 is a new single family home. Attachment 6 is a renovation. Points have been estimated based on the construction plans on file with the City to determine their rating level as designed.
By integrating high performance building practices into mainstream construction, Decatur can be a forerunner in defining what makes a high quality building today.
A. “Demolition.complete removal of structure or a scope of construction (alteration, addition, renovation or reconstruction) of a structure where only the foundation of the original structure remains.”
B. “Substantial Improvement. Substantial improvement means any combination of repairs, reconstruction, alteration or improvements to a building where the cost of the construction exceeds 50% of the fair market value of the structure prior to the improvement. Determination of Fair Market value is based on the applicant’s submittal of either the existing records of the DeKalb County tax assessor or a current appraisal of the structure’s value. The cost of the proposed construction shall be determined by the applicant using detailed, complete (turnkey) contracts from a qualified state licensed contractor or by using published standardized construction value data published by the International Code Council (ICC). Values for the purpose of this definition are exclusive of land values.”
The process of creating a draft of the Unified Development Ordinance has taken our existing development regulations, tidied up their inconsistencies, and made improvements such as the addition of graphics and tables, the use of “plain language,” the use of consistent terms throughout, and the removal of regulations that are unnecessarily repeated. We have also incorporated certain goals from the Strategic Plan, and consolidated everything into a single, easy, unified document.
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