#LEEDworks in OhioRead More
You may recall Senate Bill 310 passed the Ohio Legislature this summer and went into effect earlier this month. The original intent of the sponsors of SB 310 was to “freeze” Ohio’s energy efficiency and renewable energy standards (they were previously growing each year until 2025) and convene an “Energy Mandates Study Committee.” Bizarrely, the law also states that the legislature will, upon reviewing results of the study, “enact legislation…that will reduce the renewable energy resource, energy efficiency, and peak demand reduction mandates,” seeming to predetermine the legislative outcome before the study is even done.
Just what is the “Energy Mandates Study Committee” and what is it tasked to do? Here are some of the details of the legislation regarding the committee. Comprised of six members of the House of Representatives and six members of the Senate, with the Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission serving as an ex-officio member, the committee is charged with studying a variety of issues and eventually submitting a report to the General Assembly.
The issues to be studied include:
- Cost benefit analysis of the renewable energy, energy efficiency and peak demand reduction requirements
- Evidence-based standards for reviewing future standards
- Potential benefits of an opt-in system for energy standards
- Recommendation as to whether or not electric distribution utilities and electric services companies may pass charges along to consumers for compliance to the energy standards
- Review the risk of increased electric grid congestion due to future retirement of coal-fired power plants
- Analyze potential alternatives for the development of advanced energy resources
- Asses the environmental impact of the energy standards
- Review payments made by electric distribution utilities to third party administrators and the economic benefits they have on consumers
Last week the Senate members of the Study Committee were announced and five of six of the Senate appointees were proponents of SB 310 – including most prominently Cincinnati Republican Senator Bill Seitz (District 8), who has waged a campaign against Ohio’s energy efficiency and renewable energy standards since last year. You can view him speaking on his position in a video on his website here.
The House Speaker has not yet appointed that chamber’s members but is expected to do so soon. Needless to say, the task at hand for the committee will require substantial work by its members. A thoughtful analysis should provide for a framework for policy makers to ensure Ohioans have access to affordable energy. It never hurts to contact your State Senator and Representative and express your expectation that the “study committee” will provide a fair and thoughtful analysis for the legislature.Read More
Adapted from the official Ohio Facilities Construction Commission press release by Nadja Turek
The State of Ohio continues to lead the nation in environmentally friendly public school facilities. Officials at the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) announced July 17th, 2014 that the Columbus Scioto middle-high school building (grades 6 through 12) in the Columbus City School District has become the 150th public education facility in Ohio to achieve certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED® green building rating system. With that certification, Ohio maintains its lead in the number of buildings certified, outdistancing California, its nearest competitor with 108 certified buildings. Another 190 Ohio school buildings are currently in design, under construction, or waiting on final word on their certification application.
Starting in 2007, the OSFC has required that the design of each school building funded through the OSFC must seek Silver certification at a minimum with a goal of achieving Gold. The Columbus Scioto School was awarded a LEED Gold certification. Currently 3 Ohio schools have achieved the Platinum certification, 67 the Gold certification, 77 the Silver, and three (3) others have been Certified.
OSFC Executive Director Richard Hickman called the announcement “Exciting and certainly a statement on how Ohio has embraced environmentally friendly design.” He went on to add that “these projects, which represent a commitment to both our school children and the future of our environment, are the direct result of innovative team work from architects, construction managers, trade contractors, and our project partners, the local school districts. I commend them for their accomplishments.
Overall, data from Ohio’s 150 LEED certified schools show the buildings are designed to be 33 percent more energy efficient and use an average of 39 percent less water than buildings built to previous standards. The LEED schools also provide a healthier indoor environment for the students and staff. A complete listing of the LEED schools can be found on the OSFC website (http://osfc.ohio.gov) or at the newly launched Ohio Collection in the Green Building Information Gateway (GBIG) at http://www.gbig.org/collections/12880.Read More
Wondering what the new EPA proposal – sometimes referred to as 111(d) – has to do with green building and LEED? USGBC has prepared a FAQ document explaining why green buildings can and should play a role in plans that states will be developing over the next few years.
Some states have been very active in promoting energy efficiency in buildings; however, not all states are prepared to account for this sector’s energy savings. We at USGBC are working with other national organizations to propose solutions that states can use. In the meantime, chapters can engage with like-minded groups to show state air regulators why building efficiency must be part of the solution. And, local chapters and members should consider supporting building energy efficiency at one of the EPA hearings to be held in late July.