The Senate Finance and Financial Institutions Committee took sponsor testimony Tuesday on HB7 which would require a building or structure erected or constructed using state capital moneys to adhere to certain sustainability standards.
Rep. Harris said her bill would require buildings constructed with state capital budget money to meet certain energy efficiency and building standards, and would encourage the use of Ohio-made products. Specifically, building standards would be either Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver level or higher; certification at the two green globes level or higher from the Green Building Initiative; or a nationally recognized design standard chosen by the Department of Administrative Services.
Energy efficiency standards would require projects to exceed by at least 30 percent the most current standards of
the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers; or a national energy performance
rating of not less than 77 under the Energy Star system.
Harris said the energy savings resulting from such standards will generally allow building owners to recoup their
higher upfront costs within a number of years.
Sen. Kearney said he and his wife had been involved in a project to build the first LEED silver building in
Cincinnati, and they found it difficult and expensive. “As we began … to look at the bill for stuff, our environmentalism slowly deteriorated,” Kearney said.
Harris responded that LEED is being revamped to be more user friendly, and includes several options for meeting
In response to a question from Sen. Carey, Harris said the bill does not cover publicly funded renovations or
historic building restorations, saying it’s generally more cost-effective to start from the ground up when seeking
Sen. Widener suggested including a cost-benefit analysis for determining if the standards should be required,
noting that upfront costs might be too high for certain project types. Harris said she’d contemplated allowing
waivers if builders can show they couldn’t recoup the upfront costs within 20 years.