The world is recognizing that we need a major shift in how we deal with energy and the environment. It is important to increase the efficiency with which our buildings use resources — energy, water, and materials — while reducing building impacts on human health and the environment. This can be done through better siting, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and removal — the complete building life cycle. We should also be concerned about other building impacts on its surrounding area, such as light pollution and noise, and should balance the benefits of renewable energy facilities with their impact on scenic values and historic resources.
Though there is great interest in green building on the Vineyard, there are few regulations or incentives to actually make it happen.
The Town of Tisbury and West Tisbury have adopted the Commonwealth’s Stretch Energy Code, which sets minimum energy conservation standards to the town’s building code that are 20 percent higher than pre-stretch standards. This can be achieved by installing high-efficiency heating systems, ensuring insulation is installed correctly, making sure air infiltration sealing is done well, and putting in highly efficient light fixtures and bulbs.
In addition to energy-related issues, there are many other things we could do, such as minimizing demolition of existing buildings or scrapping of building materials, using environmentally sustainable building practices, using green building materials (reused, reusable, non-toxic), and ensuring high indoor air quality.