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House passes bill to set higher energy efficiency standards for state buildings

Standards would apply to all state-funded projects

Legislation aimed at increasing the energy efficiency of new and existing state buildings and public schools passed in the Ohio House of Representatives January 17.

House Bill 251 requires the Office of Energy Services (OES) within the Ohio Department of Development to develop “cost-effective, energy efficiency and conservation standards that are to govern the lease, design, construction, operation and maintenance of all state-funded facilities” except institutions of higher education.

The bill requires an interuniversity committee to develop a similar set of guidelines, written in conjunction with OES, to govern all higher education capital improvement projects costing more than $100,000.

It also requires that, two years from its effective date, each state-funded facility be managed by at least one building operator certified through the national Building Operator Certification prgrom.

Current state law prohibits state agencies from constructing or leasing buildings without first obtaining an energy-consumption analysis and life-cycle cost evaluation from OES. HB 251 further requires that the rules to be written by OES set an energy efficiency standard for building HVAC systems that is 20 percent above the current ASHRAE standard.

The bill, which has been assigned to the Senate Energy & Public Utilities Committee for hearings, also requires that energy efficiency considerations play a greater role in state purchasing.

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