New Law to Make State-Owned Buildings More Energy Efficient

Jan 1, 2015

Pennsylvania state agency buildings will now act as the testing ground for new, environmentally beneficial and energy-efficient technologies.

House Bill 1672, known as the State Agency Green Technology Implementation Act, allows the Department of General Services to identify new energy-efficient technologies, products, or processes and implement them in state-owned buildings.

Rep. Tom Caltagirone (D-Berks) was a co-sponsor of the bill and an advocate for energy-efficient efforts in the commonwealth.

“What I think we have been missing for many, many years, at all levels of government, is: How can we reduce the cost of energy?” Caltagirone said.

Caltagirone said the legislation, which was passed in October, allows for products as common as energy efficient light bulbs to be installed in state-agency buildings. The bill also allows for the possible implementation of larger projects utilizing solar, wind, and possibly even hydro-electric energy sources.

Moreover, the legislation leaves open the possibility of projects including natural gas-fueled state automobiles.

“We have an opportunity, vis-à-vis this legislation, to implement changes that can pull us away from oil and oil-based products, and develop alternatives that can be useful and less expensive,” Caltagirone said.

If the technologies, products, or processes implemented in state agency buildings are deemed properly energy-efficient by the agency and the Department of General Services, those products and processes can be installed and utilized in all state-owned buildings to save on energy costs.

The companies chosen to implement energy-efficient alternatives must prove that they have capabilities to commercialize their product or process within two years of the trial period. All energy-efficient technologies, products, and processes chosen by the Department of General Services must be vetted beforehand by an “approved, independent, [and] nationally recognized testing or certification program.”

Ideally, the cost-cutting, energy-efficient, methods will be used in all state-agency buildings in the future. Ultimately those methods could make their way to the private sector and to Pennsylvania households.

According to Caltagirone, the legislation should cut state-building energy costs and help spur innovation amongst green energy businesses.

“If it can benefit the business community and the tax payers, my question is: why not?” he said.