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House Approves Harper Green Building Legislation

The House Monday approved Rep. Kate Harper’s (R-Montgomery) House Bill 34 to make Pennsylvania a leader in energy-efficient construction.

“Using high-performance building standards is an important investment in our future,” Rep. Harper said. “We are talking about buildings that will be in use for decades to come. Investing in energy-efficient construction today is the right thing to do for both current and future generations of Pennsylvanians.”

Under House Bill 34, the construction or renovation of state-owned or leased buildings receiving state funding must be done using high-performance standards. Specifically, the bill requires these standards to be applied to the following types of projects:

-- A state-owned building project larger than 20,000 gross square feet.

-- A new building project larger than 20,000 gross square feet in which a Commonwealth agency has agreed to lease no fewer than 90 percent of the gross square feet.

-- A renovation of a state-owned or leased building that is larger than 20,000 gross square feet and at least 90 percent of the total square footage of the building.

Rep. Harper acknowledged up-front costs may be greater when using high-performance standards, but said taxpayers would save money on energy costs in the long run.

“To make sure the investment is worthwhile for taxpayers, the bill requires that the difference between the actual project cost and the lowest cost alternative should have an estimated recovery period of not more than 10 years,” Rep. Harper said.

The measure also places the responsibility for measurement and verification of performance in Commonwealth-owned projects with the Department of General Services and requires all building projects either owned or leased by the Commonwealth in which construction begins after the effective date of the act to achieve an EPA Energy Star rating of 75 or above.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.  A summary and House Fiscal Note are available.


2/18/2013

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