The committee for policy development has also proposed the following guidelines to be kept in cognizance during the execution of the above mentioned actions. They can also serve as action steps for each of the above action items:
- Establish sustainable design goals early in the planning stages and aim for a minimum equivalent of a LEED silver rating, with additional emphasis on energy efficiency, water conservation and indoor air quality;
- Bring together a multi-disciplinary design team with all building stakeholders, and include them in a design charts at the outset of the project;
- Strive for a “whole building” design that integrates the architectural and engineered features of the building in relation to its environment;
- Evaluate lifecycle costs in all design and financial decision making;
- Consider making new types of trade-offs, including foregoing certain traditional building electives in order to pay for sustainable features that may require more upfront costs; and
- Maintain a commitment to integrate sustainable design principles and practices throughout the design, construction, and operation of the facility.
In an era marked by a increased awareness of non-renewable natural resources, there is a constant need for energy conservation in order to decrease costs, lessen dependency on non-sustainable energy resources, minimize the negative impact on environment, and conserve resources for future generations. At this juncture in time, energy conservation is a “particularly effective way of reducing living costs and the cost of government operations, thus contributing to the vitality of the local economy” (Hendron, 2006). Some of the action plans have seen successful implementation already. This will lead to further initiatives to reduce energy consumption in governmental operations over the years.
The local energy provider also has a role to play in promoting conservation that is not only efficient but also sustainable. This will also help promote awareness about the fruits of energy conservation as well. In this context, the importance of action items and action steps in mitigation planning cannot be overstated. The following sequence of action steps is an effective starting point for local agencies that are responsible for energy management:
Continue to work with local energy agencies to educate the public about the importance of energy conservation and to promote use of techniques to reduce consumption.
Evaluate the Building Code and update as appropriate to incorporate current energy conservation standards for new construction and major building renovations.
Support the local county’s Weatherization Program, which provides assistance for physical improvements to residents to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy costs.
Provide weatherization assistance to low and moderate income property owners through housing assistance programs.
Consider the role of energy conservation and possible use of alternative energy sources as part of the sustainable economic development strategy. (Hendron, 2006)