Good News For The Built Environment

By Katie Bartolotta

Posted May 10, 2018

Across Green Building United's region, there's good policy and legislative news to report on the state and local levels. 

City of Philadelphia

Building Codes | Bill 180176

Philadelphia is on the verge of being a leader in building code adoption after falling nearly a decade behind its peers.

The state legislature granted Philadelphia a one-time opportunity to move its minimum building code ahead of the rest of the commonwealth. This update would put Philadelphia on the latest 2018 Commercial Codes, which provides an extra 6.8% increase in energy savings over the 2015 edition for commercial and multifamily buildings. The additional energy improvements are critical to the city reaching its carbon reduction goals and will have a positive impact on consumer utility costs.

The bill to adopt the 2018 Commercial Codes in Philadelphia was voted out of Committee on Licenses and Inspections with a favorable recommendation and passed its first reading before the full Council. It is up for second reading and final passage on May 24.

Special thanks to the Green Building United members who provided compelling testimony on the value of modern building codes and signed the letter of support that was circulated to lawmakers.

ICMYI: Green Building United hosted an event on both the code adoption process in Philadelphia as well as the content of those changes. Videos of the event are linked. 

codes testimony photo
Lindsey Walaski providing testimony before Philadelphia City Council in support of modern building codes.

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Building Codes | Act 36 of 2017

BIG NEWS on building code adoption in Pennsylvania.

On May 1, the Review and Advisory Council produced its report on its re-review of the 2015 International Codes. Their recommendations will comprise the updated Uniform Construction Code which will take effect on October 1, 2018.

The result? The supportive public comments you submitted in February made an impact! While the review process provided opportunities to weaken energy efficiency, the RAC gave supermajority support to several critical residential energy code provisions that had been challenged, in particular. Overall, this is an important victory for consumers in Pennsylvania who have for too long been spending money to waste energy.

Still, some provisions were amended or deleted, but the number was few relative to the ease with which opponents of modernization could submit challenges. For a comprehensive review of the implications of the provisions that were not recommended by the RAC, please check out a helpful blog post by our friends at Green Building Alliance.


Common Conservation Agenda

The Pennsylvania Common Conservation Agenda was circulated to all gubernatorial candidates with recommendations for executive actions that can be taken to improve Pennsylvania’s environment. Green Building United signed in support of the “Bolster the Commonwealth’s Clean Energy Sector” section of the agenda. The agenda was released at a press event in Harrisburg on May 1.

C-PACE | SB 234

Commercial PACE – a financing mechanism that enables low-cost, long-term funding for construction, renovation, or retrofitting of energy efficient technology or clean energy systems – has already passed the Senate.

On May 1, the House Commerce Committee voted the bill out of committee favorably. Next up – the House floor!


Solar Borders | Act 40 of 2017

Language to require that all Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) purchased in fulfillment of the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) Program originate in Pennsylvania passed into law as Act 40 of 2017.

Despite its passage into law, the Public Utility Commission (PUC) recently ruled on an interpretation issue around the legislative language to close solar borders in Pennsylvania. Fortunately, the PUC sided with the lawmakers’ intent over the technical language in the bill, preserving last year’s victory for Pennsylvania’s solar market!

State of Delaware

D-PACE | SB 113

Delaware’s Commercial PACE bill – D-PACE – has hit a snag.

When SB 113 was brought to the Senate floor for debate, an amendment was approved requiring a 3/4 vote of the Senate for passage. As a result, the bill was pulled from the floor and will be brought back up at a yet-to-be-determined date.

Legacy Partners

Platinum Partners

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