New energy ideas urged for courthouse
Berkeley Springs resident John Petersen urged the Morgan County Commissioners to pursue energy efficiency in the new courthouse design.
Petersen strongly encouraged the commissioners to spend time exploring alternative energy sources such as geothermal heating and cooling for the courthouse complex.
"The focus of the design will live on long after the architect is gone," said Petersen.
Petersen, who had run a community housing corporation, said there were huge costs in designing the courthouse. Energy efficiency and effectiveness would save an immense amount of money over the years, he noted.
A highly insulated building would reduce the amount of energy needed, he said. Decreasing maintenance costs could save many thousands of dollars over the life of a
building, said Petersen. As
fuel costs keep increasing,
this will become more of an issue.
Petersen told of a new Apple Company building which had eliminated 80% of its energy needs. He said he has a
geo-thermal system and other energy-saving features in his home.
Petersen liked the geothermal heating and cooling idea for
the courthouse that Sam
Ashelman had presented at an earlier commission meeting. Several others with geother-
mal energy expertise were in
the audience that day, said Commissioner Brenda Hutchinson.
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Petersen said that he loved the design of the new courthouse. But he felt that the commission would have to pressure their architect to consider nontraditional energy-saving design features.
County Administrator Bill Clark said he had run into similar resistance with architects on other county projects and that the county would have to make that effort. Clark had called the architects and told them that the commission wanted to take a serious look at a geothermal system.
Commission President Glen Stotler said the commissioners wanted to build an energy efficient building and had directed architect Tom Potts to look into what a geothermal system would cost them.
"There may be money out there," said Stotler.
The state has an energy efficiency program and there is also a U.S. Department of Agriculture program they are looking into, Clark said.
Petersen said there are people in the community that have the expertise in geothermal energy and alternative energy sources that would be happy to help.
Stotler asked Petersen to get the commission their names and areas of expertise so a meeting with Potts could be arranged.
Stotler wanted all energy-saving options to be considered for the courthouse — maintenance, heat, air conditioning and insulation.