PA 09-192—sHB 6284

Public Safety and Security Committee

Environment Committee

Energy and Technology Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING GREEN BUILDING STANDARDS AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY REQUIREMENTS FOR COMMERCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS

SUMMARY: This act delays the date when “green building” standards take effect and narrows their scope. It requires the state building inspector and Codes and Standards Committee to establish the threshold size for buildings subject to the standards. Under prior law, the standards applied to certain new construction costing $5 million or more and renovations costing $2 million or more.

The act delays and modifies the requirement that the state building inspector and Codes and Standards Committee revise the State Building Code with regard to energy efficiency standards. It increases the committee's membership, from 17 to 18, and requires that one member have expertise in energy efficiency matters.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

GREEN BUILDING STANDARDS

Prior law required the inspector and committee to amend the State Building Code to require (1) buildings costing $5 million or more and built after January 1, 2009 and (2) renovations costing $2 million or more and started after January 1, 2010 to meet green building standards. The standards were (1) a silver rating under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system for new commercial construction and major renovation projects, (2) a two-globe rating under the Green Globes USA design program, or (3) an equivalent standard (see BACKGROUND). The requirements applied to private- and public-sector buildings, other than residential buildings with up to four units.

The act instead requires the building inspector and committee, in consultation with the public safety commissioner, on and after July 1, 2010, to revise the code with regard to green building standards. Specifically, it requires them to amend the code to require certain buildings of or over a specified minimum size that qualify as new construction or major alteration of a residential or nonresidential building to meet or exceed optimum cost-effective building construction standards for the thermal envelope or mechanical systems. The provisions must at least address indoor air quality, water conservation, and the building's lighting and electrical systems. They must reference nationally accepted green building rating systems, which, under the act, include the National Green Building Standard, as established by the National Association of Home Builders; as well as LEED and Green Globes or an equivalent rating system approved by the state building inspector and committee.

The act requires that the revision include a method for demonstrating compliance at the time of application for a certificate of occupancy. These include, among other things, private third-party certification or verification of compliance with the relevant portions of the rating systems, including the energy and environmental portions.

The act eliminates a requirement that the inspector and the committee waive the green building requirements if the Institute for Sustainable Energy finds that the cost of compliance significantly outweighs the benefits.

BUILDING CODE REVISION

Under prior law, the state building inspector and Codes and Standards Committee, on and after January 1, 2008, were required to revise the state building code to require that all buildings and building elements were designed to meet optimum cost-effective energy efficiency standards over the building's useful life. The revisions had to meet the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Standard 90. 1 for new construction.

The act limits the revisions to commercial and residential buildings, instead of all types of buildings. It also (1) eliminates the required ongoing revision of the code to incorporate energy efficiency standards and (2) delays adoption of the standards by requiring that the code incorporate the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code, no later than 18 months after its publication. It specifies that these provisions cannot be construed to impose any new requirement for renovation or construction of state buildings subject to green building standards under existing law (CGS 16a-38k), regardless of whether the building has been granted an exemption.

BACKGROUND

LEED and Green Globes

Under LEED and Green Globes, a project's rating is based on the number of points it receives. Buildings can receive points for a wide range of characteristics, including energy efficiency, use of renewable energy, water conservation, indoor air quality, reuse of existing buildings and building material, and environmentally sensitive site design. Both systems rate buildings on a four-point scale.