Media: Bill hastens net-zero commercial development (Finance & Commerce)

Feb 1, 2021

From Finance & Commerce: 

The Legislature will hear a bill this session requiring faster adoption of national building codes for commercial and tall multifamily apartment buildings....

The legislation would adopt a statewide commercial building energy code every three years, rather than every six years, the practice today. The shortened time frame between codes would mean that after 2036 all new commercial and multifamily construction of four or more floors would have to be net-zero. The proposal also requires the state to provide resources to help builders reach energy goals and conduct cost market analyses regarding the state energy codes....

Center for Energy and Environment senior mechanical engineer Russ Landry said the current code could be confusing and overwhelming. The codebook carries an enormous amount of information architects, builders, city inspectors, and code officials must consider and all the other rules and regulations regarding buildings. He said the energy code is among several codes that architects and builders use to comply with state regulations.

Using ASHARE 90.1 as the primary code would simplify things, Landry contended. The standard sets out building performance pathways that limit the amount of energy a building should consume and allows some flexibility on how to achieve it, he said.

The state code does not have the clarity of ASHRAE 90.1, he said. “I prefer ASHRAE a lot because it’s a lot better thought-out,” Landry said. “As we’re trying to figure out which whether a project complies or not (with the state building code), I’ve found ASHRAE much more exhaustive and detailed.”

CEE legislative policy manager Jamie Fitzke said a more robust code could help with the energy costs of businesses leasing space in new multitenant buildings, which represent a significant slice of the new commercial building market. CEE supports the proposed new commercial energy code legislation because it would “improve building quality, reduce costs overall, and cut carbon emissions,” she added....
 

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