HB 7, which would require a building or structure erected or constructed using state capital moneys to adhere to certain sustainability standards, received another hearing May 19 before the Senate Finance and Financial Institutions Committee. 


Three witnesses testified in support of the bill: Jen Miller of the Sierra Club; Jack Pounds, president of the Ohio Chemistry Technology Council; and architect, Alan Warner, AIA, AIA-Ohio Chairman of the Committee on the Environment (COTE) also representing the U.S. Green Building Council Cincinnati Chapter.


Warner said the bill  – Reduces building lifecycle costs for energy use, building maintenance and operation. – Safeguards occupant health and improves worker productivity through improved indoor air quality, capture and use of natural light, and improved work space design. – Enhances energy savings and water efficiency while reducing air emissions.  Answering a question from Senator Kearney, Warner said that the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) has added 3% to cover the cost of additional construction costs, energy modeling, daylight modeling, enhanced commissioning and LEED documentation fees and that it should be expected that this additional cost should be conservatively recovered in 2 1/2 to 5 years.

Miller told the committee, “This legislation embraces a sensible approach to assuring that building construction projects funded with state funds embrace energy efficiency and sustainable design concepts. By combining both energy efficiency and environmental performance standards into one piece of legislation, Ohio will be a national leader in its requirements for state-funded buildings.”


Pounds said his group had objected to the original version of the bill because it relied on only one rating system, excluding “other equally credible programs.” He said his group also felt the bill could have done more to “increase demand for high-tech content building materials produced by Ohio‘s chemical industry.” Now, the council supports the bill for the following reasons:


– It also includes the Green Globes rating program – and any other comparable program – as equivalents to the LEED rating system. – The bill now includes a requirement that energy efficiency ratings in covered projects must exceed the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers by 30 percent or achieve a rating of 77 through the U.S. EPA’s Energy Star Rating program. He said this makes energy efficiency targets easily measured. – It includes incentives for the use of energy efficient building materials that are made by companies with significant investments in Ohio. – It focuses on significant building projects, eliminating coverage for a “lot of small projects.” – It includes a mandate that the cost of compliance with the energy conservation requirements be recovered in measurable energy cost savings within 20 years.