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Environment & Energy

Bill Would Mandate Green Building Practices in Pennsylvania

A bill being considered in Harrisburg on Tuesday would require that the design, construction, or renovation of any state-owned or state-leased building comply with specific energy standards. The so-called "Green Building" bill was introduced by State Representative Kate Harper (R-Montgomery).

"We should be spending our money wisely," said Harper, "and building the buildings green to begin with and reaping the energy savings costs is smarter in the long run if you plan to keep the building, and we plan to keep these buildings. We don't build building unless we plan for it to be around for a generation."

The bill would require high-performance construction standards to be applied to state-owned new building construction projects larger than 10,000 gross square feet and new construction projects larger than 10,000 square feet, and a Commonwealth agency has agreed to lease no less than 90 percent of the gross square feet. Additionally, projects would have to achieve a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star Program rating of 85 or above.

According to Harper, the overall goal is twofold.

"One, it's more energy efficient to build green, as that's part of the standard, so over the life of the building the Commonwealth will realize savings on Energy. Secondly, I thought that the Commonwealth should be a leader in showing the rest of Pennsylvania how it's done," she said.

The bill passed the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and now goes to the full House for consideration.