Fall policy preview: state legislatures

By Katie Bartolotta

Posted September 11, 2017

Back-to-school also means back-to-legislating for our state and local elected officials. Get caught up on what’s new and what’s next for green building in the region.

Pennsylvania General Assembly

In June, DVGBC’s Policy and Advocacy Committee engaged state lawmakers on legislation related to a sustainable built environment. In just a few months, much progress has been made on the committee’s priority bills.

 

 

HB 409 | Legislation to Reform Uniform Construction Code Adoption Process

Summary: Bill to amend the process by which the Review and Advisory Council adopts code provisions into the Uniform Construction Code

What’s new?

An amendment has been added to the current bill to include a one-time jump-ahead for the City of Philadelphia to adopt the 2018 ICC Codes for commercial buildings only. This is a significant change given the volume of commercial construction that is underway in Philadelphia that is currently building to an outdated, energy inefficient standard.

What’s next?

Should the bill pass, the City of Philadelphia can adopt 2018 commercial code via ordinance. The rest of the commonwealth will reconsider 2015 code through the Review and Advisory Council under this new adoption process.

SB 404 | Solar Energy Credit Legislation

Summary: Closes the border on Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs), requiring that all SRECs purchased in fulfillment of the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) Program originate in Pennsylvania.

What’s new?

The solar border bill has been added to the Administrative Code, a must-pass bill that is part of the yet-to-be-passed budget package.

What’s next?

While an on-time budget was technically due on June 30, the state will run out of funding on September 15, creating urgency around closing a final budget deal.

solar panels 3

SB 415 | Green Buildings Legislation

Summary: Requires that state-owned or state-leased buildings meet high-performance building standards.

What’s new?

Rep. Kate Harper plans to introduce a complimentary bill in the House.

What’s next?

Contact Senator Gene Yaw, Chair of the Energy and Environment Committee, to share your support for the legislation and ask that it be moved out of committee.

  • Key talking points for SB 415:
    • Ensures that Pennsylvania’s state-owned and -leased facilities are energy efficient, resilient, cost-effective, and promote the health and well-being of occupants.
    • Improves the Commonwealth’s “capacity to design, build and operate high-performance buildings and, in doing so, to create new jobs and contribute to economic growth."
    • Accelerates the trend of making high-performance buildings and their features - energy efficiency, improved indoor air quality, sustainable materials - mainstream.
  • District office number: (570) 322-6457.
  • Note: Sen.Yaw’s district is outside of DVGBC’s region so you’re calling because he is the appropriate committee chair not because you are a constituent.

 

SB 234 | PA Property Assessed Clean Energy Program - PACE

Summary: Enabling legislation that allows municipalities to establish and administer a PACE program for commercial and industrial properties.

What’s new?

The House companion bill will be introduced shortly by Rep. Harper under bill number HB 1722.

What’s next?

Help generate support for the House companion bill by asking you Representative to co-sponsor HB 1722 or to thank them for already doing so.

  • Key talking points for HB 1722:
    • Expands Pennsylvania’s already-booming energy efficiency industry, which accounts for 62,000 jobs in state as well as $6.4 billion dollars in benefits to Pennsylvania delivered through efficiency programs from 2009 to 2015.
    • Pennsylvania will join the ranks of the 33 states that have already enacted PACE-enabling legislation. Commercial PACE programs alone have collectively leveraged $332 million dollars for energy efficiency and clean energy projects.
  • A list of sponsors may be found here.
  • Not sure who your representative is? Search here and click through to find their district office telephone number.

Delaware General Assembly

SB 113 | Property Assessed Clean Energy Program

Summary: Just like its neighbor, Pennsylvania, Delaware is considering legislation to enable commercial PACE programs. Delaware's part-time General Assembly does not go back into session until 2018, leaving ample time for education and advocacy efforts in support of commercial PACE. 

What’s new?

The bill did not progress due to concerns with administration of program, not on merits of legislation.

What’s next?

Attend the Energy Services Coalition’s annual conference on October 18 that includes a PACE panel with local and national experts. The panelists will equip advocates and lawmakers with information and tools to clearly articulate the value of PACE programs and to address concerns with PACE legislation and its administration.

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