OLR Bill Analysis

HB 6377

AN ACT CONCERNING GREEN BUILDING REGULATIONS.

SUMMARY:

This bill delays and modifies “green building” standards that apply to projects in the public and private sectors. It delays, from January 1, 2007 to January 1, 2010, the deadline for adopting regulations setting these standards. It delays by one year interim standards, which apply to certain state-funded projects and uses a building's size, rather than its construction cost, as the threshold for subjecting buildings to these standards. The bill makes other related changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

GREEN BUILDING STANDARDS

Regulations

The bill delays, from January 1, 2007 to January 1, 2010, the deadline for adopting regulations incorporating state building construction standards that meet or exceed certain “green building” standards. These are the (1) silver building rating of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design's (LEED) rating system for new commercial construction and major renovation projects. They include energy standards that exceed by at least 20% the standards in the 2004 edition of the American Society of Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning Engineers Standard 90. 1 or (2) an equivalent standard, including at least a two-globe rating in the Green Globes USA design program.

The bill also modifies who is responsible for adopting the regulations. Under current law, the OPM secretary must adopt the regulations in consultation with the public works (DPW), environmental protection and the public safety commissioners. The bill instead requires the DPW commissioner to adopt the regulations in consultation with the other two commissioners. The bill also modifies who can provide a waiver from the regulations. Under current law, the OPM secretary, in consultation with the DPW commissioner and the Institute for Sustainable Energy and Eastern Connecticut State University can exempt a facility if the secretary finds that the cost of compliance significantly outweighs the benefits. The bill instead requires the DPW commissioner to make this determination.

Applicability of Interim Standards

Under current law, certain public and private projects must meet the above standards, other than the energy standards, until the regulations are adopted. Under current law, these interim standards apply to:

1. new construction of a state facility projected to cost $ 5 million or more for which all budgeted project bond funds are allocated by the State Bond Commission on or after January 1, 2008;

2. renovation of a state facility projected to cost $ 2 million or more, of which $ 2 million or more is state funding, approved and funded on or after January 1, 2008;

3. new construction of a facility under the school construction program projected to cost $ 5 million or more, of which $ 2 million or more is state funding, and is authorized by the General Assembly on or after January 1, 2009; and

4. renovation of a public school facility projected to cost $ 2 million or more, of which $ 2 million or more is state funding, and is authorized by the General Assembly pursuant to chapter 173 on or after January 1, 2009.

The bill substitutes a size rather than dollar criterion for these projects. For new state facilities and school construction projects, it sets a threshold of 35,000 gross square feet; for the renovation projects, it sets the threshold at 20,000 square feet. The bill also exempts state facilities funded from January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2008 from the interim standards. The size criteria apply to projects on or after January 1, 2009.

BACKGROUND

Related Bill

sSB 1033, reported favorably by the Planning and Development Committee, establishes business and income tax credits for buildings that meet the LEED gold standard (one level above the silver standard) or a comparable standard in another rating system.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Energy and Technology Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

16

Nay

5

(03/19/2009)