The Ohio House of Representatives Wednesday passed HB 7 that would set sustainability standards for state construction.  The vote was 54-42.  During the Committee hearing process AIA-Ohio’s Committee on the Environment (COTE) successfully lobbied for an amendment that emphasizes performance standards rather than an endorsement of a single energy rating system.

During the House debate both Representatives Marian Harris (D-Cincinnati) and Connie Pillich (D-Montgomery) paid tribute to AIA-Ohio and others for providing valuable input throughout the Committee hearing process.

Democrats who spoke during the debate all supported HB 7.

Republicans, however expressed concern about several aspects of the bill:

1. Some questioned a successful floor amendment that would allow, but not require an exemption from the bill if state money constituted less than 10 percent of construction costs.

2. Though the bill’s sponsor assured Rep. Ross McGregor (R-72) that the bill applied only to new construction, not rehabilitation, Rep. Robert Mecklenborg (R-30) contended that the language wasn’t clear enough… that the language should state unequivocally that “this bill applies only to new construction.”  (Editors note: OSFC makes no distinction between new and renovated & its new/renovated ratio reportedly is 60/40 with the renovation portion growing). 

3. Mechlenborg also felt that it was excessive to require that energy efficiency exceed by 30 percent the standards developed by the “finest minds in HVAC matters.”

The bill now goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.


Details of the HB7 as it went to the House floor

The bill requires that whenever any building or structure is to be constructed using any state capital budget moneys, including moneys from the Education Facilities Trust Fund, the building or structure must meet both of the following:

(1) Achieve at least one of the following building standards:

(a) Certification at the silver level or higher from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System developed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

(b) Certification at the two green globes level or higher from the Green Globes Environmental Assessment and Rating System owned and operated in the United States by the Green Building Initiative (GBI).


(c) A design standard determined by the Director of Administrative Services to be a nationally recognized green building rating standard equivalent to the standards listed above. 


(2) Achieve at least one of the following energy efficiency standards:

(a) Exceed by at least 30 percent the most current energy efficiency standards developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).


(b) Achieve a national energy performance rating of not less than 77 using the Energy Star rating system developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as validated by a professional engineer. 


Use of Ohio products


The bill requires reasonable efforts to be made to use Ohio products and materials and to recoup the costs of implementing the requirements of the bill over a period of not more than 20 years as measured by reduced energy costs.


Exemptions from the bill

(R.C. 153.013(C) and (E))

Under the bill, the following construction projects are exempt from its requirements:

(1) A building or structure that is less than 5,000 square feet;

(2) A building or structure that does not consume energy for heating, ventilating, or air conditioning;

(3) A building or structure that has construction costs less than $500,000.