By Celis Brisbin, Programs Manager

On Wednesday, May 13th, Grey Lee represented the Chapter by advocating for Net Zero Building Code at the meeting of the Green Economy Caucus at the State House. Senator Jamie Eldridge and Representative Frank I. Smizik have been long time proponents of sustainable regulation and legislation and chair the Caucus.

Courtesy of Senator Eldridge:

In Massachusetts, our buildings use 54% of the energy we consume. The bill would improve buildings codes in Massachusetts to reduce energy consumption from residential and commercial buildings.

The energy we consume still comes predominantly (over 90%) from dirty and dangerous sources – and the vast majority of energy used by our society is for heating and powering our homes and work places. To clean up our air, lower costs for consumers, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we need to make our homes and businesses far more energy-efficient.

A zero net energy building (ZNEB) is one that is optimally efficient and, over the course of a year, generates energy onsite using clean renewable resources in a quantity equal to or greater than the total amount of energy consumed onsite.

Zero net energy buildings are already being designed and constructed in Massachusetts, particularly in the residential sector. In addition to saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, zero net energy buildings can provide significant cost savings for residents and businesses, and stimulate clean energy technology development and job growth in the Commonwealth.

Creating more zero net energy buildings will require the state to find new ways to create clean and local energy, reduce our energy consumption, and remake our society to support a low carbon infrastructure.  Zero net energy building will make energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies central to the way we design and build.

A bill was based on the recommendations of Governor Patrick’s Zero Net Energy Buildings Task Force, as the report states:

“Although the current economic and climate challenges before us are great, the opportunities presented by these challenges for technology innovation, job growth, energy savings, and clean energy in the building sector require Massachusetts to act boldly—the time is now to move toward zero net energy buildings in the Commonwealth.”

A proposed bill would direct the Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) to:

Establish definitions of residential zero net-energy buildings and commercial zero net energy buildings.
In consultation with the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) create regulations establishing a residential zero net energy building standard to take effect January 1st 2020 and a commercial zero net energy building standard to take effect January 1st 2030.

For more information visit the Senator’s website here

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