Library Holds Off Seeking Building Permit. Project To Be Bound By 2023 Energy Code



Town Reports No Jones Permit Application Received Before July 1 Grandfathering Deadline  
The Jones Library Renovation-Expansion project has apparently abandoned its goal of claiming exemption from a tightened 2023 Massachusetts Energy Code that went into effect on July 1.

At the June 12 meeting of the Jones Library Building Committee (JLBC), project manager Will Fernandez of Colliers described the need to “compile the documents to submit for our building permit prior to July 1st, which is when a new code goes into effect.”

“We want to make sure we’ve at least gotten our documents submitted prior to then so we can continue to design off the old code,” he explained.

See related Library Project Shuns State Energy Code. Building Inspector Explains The Rules

The strategy received tacit approval from members of the JLBC. Had a valid permit application been submitted prior to July 1, the library project, which recently received a $1.1 million federal grant for sustainability measures, would have been grandfathered under the less stringent Ninth Edition of the state energy code.

On July 3, Amherst Senior Building Inspector David Waskiewicz reported that the Inspections Department has not received a building permit application from the Jones Library project. “It has not been delivered to our office in paper or electronic form as of this date,” he said.

As there has been little discussion of energy code compliance at public meetings of the JLBC, it is unclear whether the project will embrace the mandates of the new code as the Fort River Building Project has done or seek to be granted variances or exemptions.

Adhering to the new code will likely have cost implications. The library project is currently budgeted at $46.1 million, or roughly $10 million more than the amount approved by the Town Council in an April 2021 appropriation vote.

In pursuit of its goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, Massachusetts has set new targets in its building codes for energy efficiency, electrification, and building envelope thermal performance.

Among the changes is a focus on a metric known as Thermal Energy Demand Intensity (TEDI) which measures a building’s annual heating and cooling demand.  As a library project under 75,000 sq. ft., the renovated/expanded Jones will need to achieve a heating TEDI measure of under 2.5, and a cooling TEDI of under 21.

2023 Massachusetts Energy Code TEDI Limits. Source:

Working with energy consultancy Thornton Tomasetti, the Fort River School building project faced difficulty in meeting TEDI targets prescribed by the state.  Modeling of the schematic design initially measured a Heating TEDI of 8 when the compliance target was 2.2.  It took improvements such as upgrading to triple-pane windows and increasing wall insulation to R-20 to reduce the Heating TEDI to an acceptable 2.1.

The Jones Library building project does not anticipate installing triple-pane glass windows.

See related Jones Library Project Backpedals On Sustainability Commitment

The state’s aggressive 2050 climate action plan calls into question the Jones Library’s and some Town Councilors’ promise in funding requests to be building a library that will meet Amherst’s needs for the next 50 years.  The renovation-expansion project has claimed an exemption from the Town’s net zero bylaw and includes no plan to generate energy on-site.

See related An appeal to its ‘library champion’: Amherst council asks state to allocate ARPA money for Jones project (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

ABC News has reported that this past week planet earth reached the hottest global temperature ever recorded for four days in a row.

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

The Amherst Indy welcomes your comment on this article. Comments must be signed with your real, full name & contact information; and must be factual and civil. See the Indy comment policy for more information.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.