Citizens are right to be concerned about the variances sought by Storm Mountain Development for their Nelson Landing project. Any variances should provide logical, sustainable benefits and should be defensible. However, in my opinion, the energy use of and the greenhouse gases produced by the development should also be receiving scrutiny. Building energy use and greenhouse gas emissions constitute about 30 per cent of the global problem. Controlling building energy use is the only method of reducing GHG emissions that is currently cost-effective.
According to Jerry Yudelson, one of the world’s leading experts on green building: “An emerging standard for good building performance is a source (or primary) energy use of 100kWh per square metre per year. This translates to a site energy use intensity (EUI) goal of about 12 (thousand Btu/square foot/year).” Nelson should be encouraging building construction that puts minimal strain on Nelson Hydro resources. This could be accomplished if the developer built the homes to the German Passivhaus standard. The buildings in Nelson Landing should be positively good, not just less bad. The developer, the city, and potential buyers should be concerned about the development’s energy use and the developer should be asked to detail how closely the development meets the emerging standard.