Mountain News 

Second homes 12 per cent of sales

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Why sod? In addition to the changing colors, says Erik Peterson, a vice president for construction at Traer Creek, the sod roof prevents storm water from being polluted as it drains, decreases air conditioning costs, has a longer life than a conventional roof, creates habitat for insects, and increases oxygen.

Even more unusual, the building uses no building columns, but will have what the Vail Daily likens to archers’ bows, creating a curved roof that is flexible, capable of moving in any direction.

Peterson said the building is among the most unusual structures in the West. "I fully expect it to win awards."

The developer is planning to seek certification under the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program.

Green building debuts

HEBER CITY, Utah — So-called green building practices are, if still not commonplace, increasingly frequent in the ski towns and other outlying mountain towns in the West. A case in point is Heber City, which is kind of a bedroom community for Park City.

There, a 12,000-square-foot office building has been constructed that uses a variety of techniques to reduce the heating and lighting bill – and, as such, cause less air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

For example, explains the Park Record, a ground-source heat pump system was installed at an extra cost of $45,000 to $50,000; it draws on the earth’s temperature of 56 degrees to provide heat in winter and cooling in summer. The principle is much the same as that of a refrigerator. The building’s planners expect to recoup the up-front costs within five years as a result of lower utility bills.

Passive solar is also in place. Windows will allow maximum solar in winter, and minimal solar in summer. Interior lighting is sunlight-sensitive, so that the lights will dim and brighten as needed.

A green building council is being planned to provide public education on green building. The Park City Home Builders Association is deeply involved in this, as are several governments.

Untreated water for parks

VAIL, Colo. — Vail is planning to revise its water system to avoid irrigating two of the community’s larger parks, Ford and Donovan, with treated water. The new system that will provide raw water will cost the district almost $400,000, but will save the town between $10,000 and $20,000 a year in reduced treatment costs during the next two decades. Work on the new system will begin in September, town officials say.

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