2018 Legislative Victories

By Katie Bartolotta

Posted January 8, 2019

Throughout 2018, Green Building United’s members and supporters lent their voices and expertise to state and local legislative efforts to improve our region’s built environment. From building codes to renewable energy procurement, each successful effort is a step toward achieving a sustainable, healthy, and resilient built environment for all.

Below is a recap of key legislative victories in the City of Philadelphia, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and State of Delaware, and a preview of what’s next in 2019.

City of Philadelphia

Commercial Building Codes

Philadelphia City Council unanimously voted to adopt modern building codes in Philadelphia, and the bill was promptly signed into law by Mayor Kenney.

In a matter of months, Philadelphia transformed from lagging nearly a decade behind its peers to a nationwide leader in modern code adoption. The 2018 International Codes represent an increase in energy efficiency of over 30 percent as compared to current codes. 

Green Building United’s members were at the forefront of advocacy efforts to support the bill’s passage by providing in-person testimony and signing letters of support.

Solar Power Purchase Agreement

Philadelphia City Council unanimously voted for legislation allowing the City of Philadelphia to finalize a contract for a large-scale solar power purchase agreement.

The agreement will account for 22% of the City's electricity needs by 2020, helping to advance rapidly the City's greenhouse gas reduction and clean electricity procurement goals. 

Green Building United members testified in support of the bill at the hearing on November 14 and nearly 90 individuals and organizations signed onto our letter of support.

What’s Next?

Green Building United looks forward to supporting the introduction of legislation to build upon current efforts to reduce building energy use to save money and lessen environmental impact from the built environment. Examples include commercial building tune-up and residential energy disclosure legislation.



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Mayor Kenney signing modern building codes into law
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Amy Cornelius providing testimony before Philadelphia City Council in support of the city's solar power purchase agreement

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Commercial PACE

The Pennsylvania General Assembly passed legislation enabling Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) throughout the Commonwealth. Commercial PACE is a financing mechanism that enables low-cost, long-term funding for construction, renovation, or retrofitting of energy efficient technology or clean energy systems. Commercial PACE programs help to encourage clean energy job growth, lower utility bills, increase building asset value, save energy, and reduce carbon emissions.

Green Building United’s members supported the passage of this bill by meeting in person with lawmakers, submitting written testimony, placing phone calls, and signing letters of support.


What’s Next?

Green Building United awaits the re-introduction of legislation to enable community solar projects in Pennsylvania as well as legislation to remove the investment cap on utility energy efficiency investments.

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Lindsey Walaski, Elizabeth Hahn, and Kara Haggerty Wilson meeting with Senator Farnese's Legislative Director.

State of Delaware 

Commercial PACE

The Delaware General Assembly also adopted commercial PACE legislation in 2018, becoming the 35th state to do so.

Green Building United’s members supported the passage of this bill by hosting an educational town hall, meeting with lawmakers, delivering testimony, and signing letters of support.


What’s next?

Green Building United will continue its participation in Delaware’s process to review and adopt the 2018 International Codes statewide.

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Green Building United members Anne Kirby and Cory Budischak participate in the Commercial PACE bill signing with Governor Carney.

Support the Work

Green Building United Policy and Advocacy Committee leads its legislative work. This member-only committee of diverse professionals meets monthly to advocate for policy and legislation that advances a sustainable and healthy built environment.

Activities include:

  • Educating elected officials and staff on green building priorities through in-district meetings and lobby days
  • Providing testimony during committee hearings
  • Reviewing and providing feedback on draft legislation and policy  
  • Signing and circulating letters of support for legislation and policy
  • Assisting with research and draft educational one-pagers
  • Sharing legislative and policy updates with networks 

For more information or to get involved, please email Katie Bartolotta

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