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Legislation & Public Policy Issues in Preservation     


Legislation & Public Policy Issues in Preservation
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Energy Bill May Pose Compliance Issues for Historic Buildings in Meeting Energy Efficiency Standards
Historic Preservation Blog from PreservationDirectory.com - The National Trust for Historic Preservation's Department of Public Policy, green buildings, energy efficiency, preservation law, preservation legislation, Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax
Contributed By: The National Trust for Historic Preservation's Department of Public Policy
Email The Author: pr@nthp.org
Website: http://www.nthp.org

A House-passed energy bill (HR 3221) may pose compliance problems for older and historic buildings if Congress enacts the bill with its current provisions for establishing a national model for updating state building energy efficiency codes.

Under the “Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2007” the Secretary of Energy would be responsible for updating the national model building energy codes and standards at least every three years to achieve overall energy savings for residential buildings and commercial buildings of 30 percent by 2010 and 50 percent by 2020, as well as establish targets “in intermediate and subsequent years at the maximum level of energy efficiency that is technologically feasible and life-cycle cost effective.” State certification of compliance with these national building codes would have to occur within three years of enactment and require that “at least 90 percent of [both] new and renovated buildings covered by the code in the preceding year substantially meet all the requirements …”

The questionable feasibility of a national building code “green mandate” could potentially create enormous compliance issues for historic rehab as energy efficiency requirements may conflict with performing historically accurate and/or appropriate rehabilitation, which would also need to be reflected in revisions in the building codes of all 50 states. Lawmakers may instead look to other incentives such as expanded tax breaks for building and rehabbing energy-efficient structures as an alternative to a national building code mandate.

Reprinted by permission of the Public Policy Department of the National Trust


Keywords: The National Trust for Historic Preservation's Department of Public Policy, green buildings, energy efficiency, preservation law, preservation legislation, Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax

Posted: October 15, 2007
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Unless noted, the thoughts and opinions expressed in the article are solely that of the
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