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City Hall
P.O. Box 2315
480 East Ave. N.
Ketchum, ID  83340
Ph: 208.726.3841
Fax: 208.726.8234
Ketchum's Green Building Codes

On Monday, May 7, 2012, the Ketchum City Council approved a new building code that encourages “green”, high efficiency, healthy buildings.  It went into effect on May 16, 2012.  The code applies to new residential construction and additions.  It is based on the National Green Building Standard (ICC 700-2008), with minor amendments and the addition of an Exterior Energy Conservation chapter.  The minimum compliance level will be set at Silver.  The code addresses the following areas:

  • Site Design
  • Resource Efficiency
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Water Efficiency
  • Indoor Environmental Quality, and
  • Operations and Maintenance

As alternative ways to satisfy the code, the City will also accept LEED or NAHB Silver certification.

The adoption of the code is the result of almost two years of research and public outreach.  It builds on the outreach done by the City of Hailey and Blaine County for their green codes.  Additional future workshops will be held on how the code will work and on subjects that the code addresses, such as recycling or water conservation in the garden.  The City is also reaching out to businesses to educate them as to how they can participate in making the code a success.

For additional information on the National Green Building Standard, visit

For more information on Ketchum’s code or future workshops, contact Rebecca Bundy, associate planner, at 208-727-5082 or at . The ordinance adopting the code is available in the City Municipal Code, Ordinances Pending Codification. Information on the City’s environmental activities is also available on the City’s website at:  www.ketchumidaho.org, under the Environment tab. 

Here’s a bit of history on the process:

Each year the Ketchum City Council establishes goals for the city.  One of 2010’s primary goals was enactment of an “above-code” green building initiative.  In response to that goal, the Community and Economic Development Department initiated the process of developing a green building code.

Staff envisioned a small core team to spearhead the project with a broader network of interested stakeholders to advise the core team.  In November 2010, staff recommended seven individuals, with diverse backgrounds, to be the core team for appointment.  The Mayor approved, and the council ratified, the team appointments.   

The core team proceeded to research existing green building codes, to involve and educate the public, and to keep the council informed of their progress.  They strove to develop a new code that would reflect Ketchum’s status as a regional and national resort leader and would balance the City’s environmental, economic, and social needs. 

In January 2011 the team presented preliminary recommendations to the city council for residential and commercial green codes.  The recommended codes, the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) for residential construction and the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) for commercial construction, were developed by the International Code Council in collaboration with other respected organizations including the American Institute of Architects and the National Homebuilders Association.

Both codes address the spectrum of sustainable building practices:  Energy, water and resource efficiency, land use, indoor air quality, operations, and they include practices for updating existing buildings.  Both have multiple paths toward compliance: prescriptive, performance and others, which allow the designer, the builder and their client a great deal of flexibility in how they achieve compliance.

Both codes reflect the standard building and design practices of our community, and it should not require a lot of extra effort to achieve compliance.  These codes will ensure that all structures are built to the same high standards that many of this community’s architects and builders already consider standard best practice.

The IgCC is still in draft form, with the final version due out in early 2012.  Therefore, the green building code team chose to focus their 2011 efforts on evaluating and testing the NGBS for residential construction.  They tested the code on a number of real and imaginary projects, including new construction, additions, remodels and multi-family.  They met with builders and architects to assess the barriers to compliance with the proposed code.  After thorough evaluation, the team concluded that, at the Bronze or Silver level, the NGBS is well aligned with standard best building practices in the Valley.

The team conducted two public workshops and presented at the Wood River Valley Sustainability Expo in the summer of 2011.  At these well-attended sessions, the code was well received by builders, architects and others, with the primary concern being cost of compliance.

In December 2011, the green building code team gave a presentation to the city council to summarize its recommendation of the NGBS for residential construction and to address a few items pertaining to exterior energy use that the team feels should be added to the code.  The team addressed costs to the City and to the construction project, feasibility, applicability, and how to incentivize higher levels of compliance.

The first hearing of an ordinance to adopt the NGBS, with additional requirements for exterior energy conservation/mitigation, was heard by the city council on February 21, 2012, with a second reading on March 19, 2012, and adoption on May 5, 2012.  There was  strong public support for and no public resistance to adoption of the code.