The Office of Policy and Management (“OPM”) has unveiled a set of proposed regulations for high performance building construction standards for state-funded buildings (the “Proposed Regulations”). The Proposed Regulations are an effort by OPM to implement the statutory “green” building requirements found in Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16a-38k, which became effective January 1, 2009. The standards require construction funded by the State to meet or exceed certain energy and environmental criteria based on LEED Silver standards or qualify for two Green Globes using the Green Globe USA design program, and exceed the ASHRAE 90.1 (2004) standard by no less than 20%. After approval by the Connecticut General Assembly Regulation Review Committee, the Proposed Regulations will become final. The Regulations Review Committee is scheduled to meet to consider the Proposed Regulations on May 26 in Room 1E of the Legislative Office Building.
The Proposed regulations apply to the following types of projects (“Covered Projects”):
(1) Any new construction of a State facility that is projected to cost five million dollars, or more, and for which all budgeted project bond funds are allocated by the State Bond Commission on or after January 1, 2008;
(2) Any renovation of a State facility that is projected to cost two million dollars or more, of which two million dollars or more is State funding, approved and funded on or after January 1, 2008;
(3) Any new construction of a facility that is projected to cost five million dollars, or more, of which two million dollars or more is State funding, and is authorized by the General Assembly pursuant to chapter 173 on or after January 1, 2009; and
(4) Any renovation of a public school facility as defined in subdivision (18) of Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-282 that is projected to cost two million dollars or more, of which two million dollars or more is State funding, and is authorized by the General Assembly pursuant to chapter 173 on or after January 1, 2009.
The Proposed Regulations implement a regulatory paradigm that consists of mandatory building practices which must be implemented in conjunction with one of two prescriptive options. All Covered Projects must incorporate twelve (12) mandatory building requirements and any Covered Project that is a school project must incorporate six (6) additional building requirements.
In addition to the aforementioned mandatory requirements, a Covered Project that is not a school project is required to undertake either of the following two prescriptive options: (1) obtain silver certification under a LEED Green Building Rating System or a two-globe rating in the Green Globes USA design program, or (2) incorporate a minimum of twenty-six (26) of a set of sixty (60) building strategies enumerated in the Proposed Regulations.
If a Covered Project is school project, in addition to the aforementioned mandatory requirements, the school is required to undertake either of the following two prescriptive options: (1) obtain silver certification under a LEED Green Building Rating System, or meet the criteria set forth in the Northeast Collaborative for High Performance School Protocol or (2) incorporate a minimum of twenty-eight (28) of a set of fifty-nine (59) building strategies enumerated in the Proposed Regulations.
The aforementioned mandatory and prescriptive requirements both substantially borrow their criteria from the LEED Green Building Rating System for New Construction & Major Renovation version 2.2. As an illustration, the overlapping requirements found in Conn. Agencies Regs. § 16a-38k-3 includes the following (analogous LEED prerequisite or credit in parenthesis):
(1) Building Commissioning (EA Prerequisite 1);
(2) Implementation of an Indoor Air Quality Management Plan (EQ Credits 3.1 & 3.2);
(3) Storage & Collection of Recyclables (MR Prerequisite 1);
(4) Implementation of an Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan (SS Prerequisite 1);
(5) Environmental Tobacco Smoke Control (EQ Prerequisite 2);
(6) Minimum Indoor Air Quality (EQ Prerequisite 1);
(7) Refrigerant Management (EA Prerequisite 3).
Lastly, the Proposed Regulations also contain a provision that allows the Secretary of the OPM to grant an exemption to any Covered Project if, after a cost-benefit and life cycle analysis, the Secretary of the OPM finds that the cost of compliance with the Proposed Regulations significantly outweighs its benefits.
What remains unclear is whether the Proposed Regulations will undergo further amendment in the near future to harmonize their requirements with the introduction of LEED v3.
If you have questions about the Proposed Regulations or other "green" incentives now offered or being considered throughout Connecticut, please contact Christopher J. Novak, LEED AP at email@example.com, (860) 297-4669, of the Halloran & Sage LLP Green Law Group.
For a copy of the Proposed Regulations visit http://www.ct.gov/opm/cwp/view.asp?a=2994&q=389836. For more information on LEED, visit www.usgbc.org and for Green Globes, visit www.thegbi.org.
This post is intended to provide general information about significant legal developments and should not be construed as legal advice on any specific facts and circumstances, nor should they be construed as advertisements for legal services.