Kudos to Thurston County for getting it right.
The new county public works campus under construction near Olympia is a stellar example of building for the future. This $14 million project incorporates best technology and science to fulfill energy requirements by installing solar panels and geothermal heat in some of the buildings.
Expectations are that solar power generated and sold back to Puget Sound Energy will be the same amount required to run the buildings thus save the county thousands of dollars. In addition, the new public works campus will use geothermal technology to heat and cool two campus buildings, resulting in estimated savings up to 60 percent in energy costs compared to powering with other sources.
The bottom line is this: Thurston County’s new Tilly Road campus utilizes sustainable, economical and lower polluting energy.
This is in sharp contrast to two other local projects.
The Evergreen State College recently set aside plans to build a $15 million incinerator to burn tree wood for campus heat, neither economical nor sustainable.
The City of Olympia’s new city hall makes use of neither solar nor geothermal energy sources, ensuring that Olympia citizens will be paying high energy rates for the new city hall.
I hope future regional construction projects follow Thurston County’s lead and choose solar and geothermal power over less sustainable and more polluting energy systems.