LIVE: Buncombe Commissioners hearing report on carbon emissions, operation costs

At the Sept. 7 meeting of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, the county’s General Services Department plans to update commissioners on its ongoing efforts to operate more efficiently and sustainably. The department’s presentation will highlight new efforts to reduce energy usage, although its report shows that the county’s overall energy consumption costs have gone up from where they were five years ago.

General services oversees approximately 1.5 million square feet of county facilities, up 364,670 square feet from 2005.  In that same period, the department calculates that its energy costs rose from $1.128 to $1.131 per square foot. The report also found that operation of the facilities accounts for about 59 percent of the county’s overall carbon emissions.

To lower costs and reduce its carbon footprint, General Services plans to upgrade several of its HVAC systems and to replace many of the windows at the Health Center. It also points to recent efforts to replace windows at the courthouse and install new lights at the detention center.

The report also looks at the impact of the gasoline consumed by commuting employees. It found that 92.6 percent of county employees drive to work, with an average round trip of 27.62 miles. Commuters are the county’s second largest source of carbon emissions, making up 18 percent of the total.

In other business, commissioners will hear an update from the Buncombe Planning Department on its zoning policy and will consider several candidates for a pair of open positions on the Parks, Greenways and Recreation Advisory Board.

The board will meet at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 7, in the commissioner’s chambers, located at 30 Valley St. A short pre-meeting review of the agenda will begin at 4:15 p.m.

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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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