Tentative measure could increase energy efficiency, raise UCity construction costs

| Senior News Editor

An energy-saving measure to be proposed at Monday night’s University City council meeting could affect the design of Washington University’s planned housing north of the Delmar Loop.

The measure is intended to bring all residential and commercial buildings being constructed in the University City area up to the 2012 building code, which is currently recommended but not required. The 2012 code differs from the 2006 code, which already-constructed buildings in the area currently fall under, in that it requires more insulation, including thicker walls and windowpanes.

If it were to pass, the measure would result in lower utility bills for residents of new residential and commercial buildings constructed in University City, the municipality that contains current University housing construction, as well as decreased carbon emissions. The cost of the new standards would shift to those financing the building construction, who would be responsible for bringing new buildings up to new standards.

“The main thing that’s changing about these standards is that they’re going to save residents money,” Maddy Salzman, a Washington University alumna and representative for the Sierra Club of St. Louis, which supports the measure, said. “It’s a great thing for students to get behind because it’s a no-brainer if you own a home and live in it based on how much you’ll be saving.”

According to Salzman, a resident of these new buildings would maintain energy savings of up to $500 every year compared to buildings under the 2006 code due to lowered heating bills.

Salzman said the measure directly impacts students that live in these neighborhood areas, such as on Washington Avenue, neighborhoods north of the Loop, Forsyth, and most other off-campus housing. Current construction being done by the University on areas north of Delmar for additional student housing would also be subject to these new codes.

Salzman hopes that students will attend the meeting to demonstrate support for a project that she believes will ultimately benefit them most.

“Lots of people aren’t connected to the political process—I know when I was a student, I wasn’t—but these are definitely things that they could stand to benefit from being more involved in,” she said.

None of the current students Salzman said plan to attend the meeting could be reached for comment.