REPORT ON BILLS FAVORABLY REPORTED BY COMMITTEE
JFS on 3/16/05
Government, Administration, and Elections
TITLE OF BILL:
AN ACT CONCERNING COST SAVINGS THROUGH ADOPTION OF HIGH PERFORMANCE ENERGY EFFICIENT GREEN BUILDING STANDARDS.
SPONSORS OF BILL:
REASONS FOR BILL:
Since the State of Connecticut is responsible for funding many of the buildings that would be covered by this bill, the state should also be interested in providing a healthy work environment for workers in the buildings. The state should also be interested in conserving energy and using good financial sense when it comes to using budgeted dollars.
There was also substitute language adding the Green Globe’s Program as an acceptable rating system.
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:
James T. Fleming – Commissioner of the Department of Public Works. This bill is designed to make state buildings more energy efficient. It is only applicable to new buildings and extensive renovations, which will allow design professionals and state officials an opportunity to implement the standard in a reasonable “ramping up” period of time.
Department of Transportation – The DOT opposes the mandates put forth in 923. In addition to many of the requirements being expensive to implement, state-funded building project account for only a small portion of overall construction in the state and region. Although it is an admirable goal to use recycled material as much as possible, there may be a small market for these materials.
Gina McCarthy – Commissioner of DEP. In addition to promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy, LEED promotes sustainable site planning, water efficiency and conservation. Continued efforts to promote high performance building standards are an important step to achieving Connecticut’s climate change goals.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
Martin Mador AND
The Connecticut Foundation for Environmentally Safe Schools AND
Institute for Sustainable Energy
-- These standards would be used for almost every school being built in the future. In addition to the environmental impact, there could also be fiscal savings that improve every year the school is used.
-- Also, builders aren’t bound by certain points of the LEED program. There are 69 suggestions in LEED, but any 33 can be followed to earn silver certification.
Citizens for Responsible Growth – Green buildings don’t cost more to build as long as sustainability is incorporated in the initial stages of design.
Mieke Schuyler – A state mandate will bring Green Building to Connecticut faster than any other method.
Carl Amento – Mayor of Hamden. In 2000, our town converted all of its 1,800 traffic signals from 100-watt incandescent light bulbs to 12-watt LEDs, saving over 70 percent of our town’s electricity bills for traffic signals. There were also LEED ideas planned for a new school, but they were abandoned in favor of cutting $300,000 out of a $54 million project. That was shortsighted.
Environment Northeast AND
Lon Hultgren – Director of Public Works for Mansfield. Requiring silver-rated LEED certification is right in line with the goals of the Climate Change Action Plan, which was already endorsed by the Environment Committee. LEED certification also provides a framework for assessing building performance and meeting sustainability goals.
Doreen Ann Ahern – Spent the summer of 2002 in Fairfield, Iowa, in an off-grid community, where everything was recycled back into the system. It was only powered by wind and the sun, which was enough to power 35 homes. Because of the green design, they were kept cool in the summer and warm in the winter without air conditioning.
Environmental Architecture AND
Clean Water Action
-- “By passing SB 923, you can refine the state’s architecture priorities to have minimal environmental site impact, low water and energy consumption, healthier occupants and beautifully day-lit environments.
Rountree Architects AND
Connecticut Audobon Society
-- Green buildings address a wide range of environmental issues, including resource conservation through better planning, storm water runoff, pollution, reclamation of brownfields, energy efficiency, and fossil fuel use and transit opportunities.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:
Connecticut Conference of Municipalities – The fiscal note estimated that consruction costs could go up 5 percent – that is too high!
Lumber Dealers’ Association of Connecticut – LEED certification encourages the use of wood that meets the Forest Stewardship Council certification standard. However, only 1 percent of the forest in Canada and the U.S. are certified to the FSC. There simply is not enough FSC certified wood available to meet the demand.
Home Builder’s Association of Connecticut – The LEED standard is only one standard, and we strongly urge the committee to not adopt it as the only permissible standard, but to let the voluntary, market-driven approaches to green building continue.
American Forest & Paper Association AND
New England Carpenters Labor Management Program
– “The LEED rating system clearly discriminates against the use of certain wood products.”