Mon, Feb 27|
Room 2B of the LOB and YouTube Live
SB 979 Public Hearing (Renter Energy Transparency and Stretch Code)
Make your voice heard for these important initiatives
Time & Location
Feb 27, 2023, 10:00 AM
Room 2B of the LOB and YouTube Live
About the event
SB 979 Energy Affordability, Energy Efficiency, and Green Cities
The Public Hearing Agenda has links for the registration to testify, submit written testimony, and to the live youtube hearing. You must register to testify in person or virtually by 3pm on Sunday, February 26th. It is recommended that you submit written testimony by February 27th.
- Committee Leadership: Co-Chairs Sen. Lopes and Rep. Gresko, Vice Chairs Sen. Hochadel and Rep. Palm, and Ranking Members Sen. Harding and Rep. Callahan
- Thank you to leadership, committee, Gov. Lamont, Commissioner Dykes for introducing.
- Mention your strong support with strengthening recommendations.
Section 2: Renter Energy Labeling Talking Points
- Why energy transparency matters to you and your audiences/ constituencies
- Broad coalition in support of ideas on fact sheet (can append Fact Sheet to written testimony)
- Bill aims to help renters better plan for energy use; protects renters from higher / unexpected energy costs; is user friendly for landlords; and will help CT reach our building decarbonization and climate goals.
- Energy insecurity leads to housing insecurity; both lead to negative health outcomes.
- Strongly support the process to develop the labels, which would require public participation, alignment with standard labels already in use such as HERS and Energy Star, and would offer flexibility to the DEEP commissioner to determine what works best for CT.
- Recommend that the tenants’ ability to understand the labels is a key criterion for the label.
- Support the requirement in bill that landlords share energy label on online rental listings.
- Recommend that the burden to disclose energy label should fall to landlord – not on tenant to request. Consider requiring disclosure upon receipt of rental application.
- Recommend eliminating the phasing in by energy burden - Because there are various methods to develop energy labels that don’t rely on in-person energy audits, we do not need to phase in implementation as we scale up that workforce. Phasing implementation by energy burden in the town’s census tracts as the bill currently says may result in market inequities for tenants and landlords that operate in more than one town. (It is common for tenants to look for apartments in more than one town; and for building owners to own property in more than one town.)
- Recommend statewide implementation and enforcement - After a robust public participation process that develops a label useful for all the stakeholders, and simultaneously educates the public about the value of energy efficiency, building energy transparency should be implemented statewide instead of town by town. We recommend a statewide enforcement approach, that may be augmented by towns; but CT is too small to implement these provisions 169 different ways. Statewide enforcement is preferred to ensure consumer protection of all CT Residents, and to not burden municipalities.
- Support the exemption for units that include utilities, since renters know those costs up front.
- Recommend eliminating exceptions for buildings built after 2000 and owner-occupied rentals - Exempting these buildings would make it harder for tenants to use the scores to make an informed decision about where to live.
- Recommend including a budget for initial and ongoing public education and outreach for effective implementation.
Section 4: Municipal Stretch Codes
- The building sector is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the State of Connecticut.
- The stretch code allows municipalities to adopt the commercial and/or residential zero energy appendix of the already adopted 2021 International Energy Conservation Code.
- Municipalities want options to require greater energy efficiency to reduce their residents' energy burden, reduce local air pollution, and increase the quality of their building stock.
- For the stretch code to be effective it is important to include a process for development, education, interpretation, and enforcement - The development of a statewide stretch code should be managed by the Office of the State Building Inspector (OSBI) and the Codes and Standards Committee including opportunity for public comment.
- Strongly support Energy Efficiency Targets. (Building Envelope Insulation, Airtightness, and Equipment)
- Recommend including preference for electrication - Municipalities want the ability to ensure that new construction will not increase local air pollution.
- Recommend removing renewable energy as a requirement, which may be a barrier on some projects, ensuring we encourage renewables where appropriate and accessible. A requirement will make it less likely to be adopted by municipalities. We prefer the stretch code to require Zero Energy Ready construction which optimizes performance and efficiency so all or most annual energy consumption can be offset with renewable energy. For example, Massachusetts' zero energy stretch code does not require renewables. A requirement for solar-ready infrastructure would be appropriate to avoid costly retrofits to add it in the future.
- Include embodied carbon reduction of building materials and construction. - Reducing embodied carbon is critical for addressing climate change.
- A clear process should be provided for projects that request code modifications.
- Include a budget for education for contractors, architects, and other building professionals, training for local code officials, and enforcement.
- Align stretch code measures with State affordable housing and energy-efficient incentive programs to streamline projects' ability to offset additional costs.
- Identify alternate compliance paths such as Passive House, LEED Gold, or Living Building Certifications to streamline compliance and enforcement.
- Include municipal adoption incentives - For instance, Massachusetts requires stretch code adoption for Green Community Designation that unlocks access to grant money.
Sections 5+6: Contractor Education and Licensing
- Strongly support requiring education and training on heat pumps for building trades.
- Heat pump technology has huge potential to decarbonize our built environment and reduce local air pollution, but the technology is new and to be effective training is needed for successful installations that have the impact we hope to achieve.
- Recommend including adjustments to the building trade licensing and apprenticeship requirements to increase the workforce to transition to a clean energy economy.