November 06, 2013University City has become the third Missouri city to fully adopt the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code for new residential and commercial buildings.
Under the code, new buildings will undergo more rigorous inspection of seals and ductwork, better insulation and a greater percentage of high-efficacy lighting will be required. University City had been following guidelines set by the 2006 code.
Brian Ettling, a representative of the Missouri Sierra Club, addressed the city council at its Oct. 28 meeting. He cited a Department of Energy study that estimates the new construction requirements will cut utility bills by about 34 percent, saving an average homeowner about $500 a year.
"The law will help end a dependence on fossil fuel without decreasing our quality of life," Ettling said.
Two Washington University students also voiced support at the meeting for the updated code, which will affect the university's $80 million student apartment project. The Lofts of Washington University are expected to house about 600 students along Delmar Boulevard and Enright Avenue.
The City Council unanimously approved the bill after delaying a vote at its Oct. 14 meeting. On that evening, about 20 University City residents and Sierra Club members were in attendance in support of the measure.
State Rep. Rory Ellinger, a Democrat, spoke in favor of the bill at that meeting, saying the energy-efficiency standards would be good for the city.
"It attracts people because of lower costs, saving the environment and lowering the use of energy," he said.
Columbia and Richmond Heights have also adopted the 2012 conservation code.
In other business, the council discussed a proposed budget amendment before voting to table the measure until its Nov. 12 meeting.
One adjustment, an increase to $483,000 from $318,000 for improvements to the parking lot behind Cicero's restaurant on Kingsland Avenue, reflects a change in the scope of the project.
Also discussed at the Oct. 28 meeting was a request for $33,600 from the University City Chamber of Commerce. Councilmen Byron Price and Paulette Carr questioned how that money would be used, stressing that projects along Olive Boulevard needed to be as much of a priority as those on Delmar.
Councilman Michael Glickert praised the chamber, which has been in existence for 18 months. He said the city would be getting good value for that earmark, which would come from the Economic Development Retail Sales Tax Fund.
"I have never seen a group more energetic or on fire about University City," Glickert said.