Major Energy Efficiency Milestones in the Statehouses

While State legislatures scramble to make up lost revenue to fund important projects, the US Green Building Council (USGBC) observed "significant advances" in the development of green buildings and schools and housing. In a report released August 17, "Advancing Green Building Policy in the States - 2011 Victories from Alabama to Wyoming" the USGBC reported significant energy efficiency progress in state legislation.
30 "wins" across 22 states were noted in a report on 400 bills being followed this year. "Surely bills with a fiscal note in nearly any chamber were likely to be dead on arrival" the report said "but thankfully building green is not a partisan issue." The report found that "safe and efficient buildings resonate with a very broad audience and strike an important chord with lawmakers who are doing their best ....to foster economic activity and the growth of the emerging clean, green economy."
The USGBC counted success even among bills that did not get enacted; "good bills that do not advance should not be considered losses." These bills, they say, "go far to move the ball forward for the green building conversation. The report provides a state by state description of relevant legislative activity, where you can look up action in your own state.
Among the highlights:
Colorado: homeowners looking to sell their home and buy a new one can receive grants to improve the energy efficiency of their existing homes below minimum energy standards ratings and buy “highly efficient” new homes rated by a recognized energy efficiency building rating system (HB 1160).
Connecticut: In what the USGBS called a "landmark achievement" HB 1243 (enacted as Public Act 11-80) creates a Clean Energy Finance Authority, a "green" bank, to devote private capital to clean energy projects and establish "a proactive one-stop-shop for addressing energy efficiency in commercial buildings."
Idaho: An updated commercial and residential building energy code became effective January 1 .
New York: A revolving loan fund and financing program will give property owners the opportunity to get loans for energy efficiency upgrades to be repaid with savings earned on utility bills (AB 8510). The New York State Building Energy Code tightened the required energy efficiency rating for new residential buildings.
Ohio: Landlords investing in energy efficiency improvements would get tax credits as a result of SB50.
Wyoming: 2011 saw the enactment of HB 179 in which municipalities can create building energy efficiency programs.
Even in a period of economic uncertainty and political divisiveness, energy efficiency programs are proving successful in the states, where savings and environmental benefits are felt at the local level. These successes indicate that it is worth it to fight for progress in Energy Efficiency - there is a demand for it and there are ways to meet that demand.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blogging for You

I am a Seattle-based writer. Energy efficiency and the achievement of human potential are my goals. I have worked as a legislative aide and a database manager, and recently started building a money- and energy-saving household goods online store featuring sensible and affordable home environment solutions including ENERGY STAR qualified products. Contact: info@greenbespoke.com Twitter: @Greenbespoke @SaveWattsatHome