Green Building Legislation in Missouri Moves Forward!

This is the year. This is the year we hope to join 33 other states with some sort of LEED for state buildings legislation or executive order. Well, we are a few steps closer to this becoming a reality in Missouri thanks to House Bill 1871, which contains language that would require all state owned or leased buildings, new construction or major renovation (over 5,000 sq/ft) meet LEED Silver or Two Globes (Green Globes) or conduct a 30 year life cycle analysis showing the financial costs in the long term do not justify certification. It also requires that when obtaining LEED certification, a major facility project shall reduce energy use twenty-four percent for new buildings or twenty percent for existing buildings over ASHRAE standard 90.1-2007. In order to ensure that buildings remain energy efficient, all major facility projects that were certified at the LEED Silver or two Globe standard or higher shall be inspected by a third-party commissioning agent, at a minimum, in the fifth, tenth, and fifteenth year following certification.

GSCaucusEvent 4-16-10Pictured at the Missouri Green Schools Caucus Reception on April 16 left to right: Pam McIntyre, President of St. Louis Community College – Wildwood Campus; Representative Shane Schoeller; Richard Schuessler, USGBC-STL Government Advocacy Subcommittee Chair; Representative Margo McNeil and Jeremy Sigmon, USGBC Building Codes Advocacy Manager.

Another component of the legislation hopes to ensure more government accountability and transparency. It involves the Office of Administration regularly reporting building information to House and Senate Energy and Environment committees. Information reported will include the number and types of buildings designed and constructed and the level of certification achieved; actual savings in energy costs; a description of potential environmental benefits, such as water savings and solid waste reduction; and a building’s ability to perform at the standard to which it was originally certified.

Not only do we hope that state owned and leased buildings will become greener with the help of this bill, but that the state of Missouri benefits from the triple bottom line for years to come.

House Bill 1871 also contains the Property Assessed Clean Energy Act, know as PACE. This language authorizes municipalities to form a clean energy development board in order to establish a property assessed clean energy program to finance energy efficiency or renewable energy improvement projects. A property owner can then apply to the board to finance their clean energy project through a property tax lien against the property.

PACE addresses the upfront costs associated with some clean energy projects and the lien is paid back to the board over a given time frame from the energy savings and/or generation. PACE will be an optional program for local residences and provides no financial burden on the State. It will help create jobs and allow everyday Missourians to green their homes without a financial burden.

I would like to thank Rep. Shane Schoeller for sponsoring House Bill 1871 as well as one of its biggest supporters, Rep. Margo McNeil (who introduced the LEED portion). Reps. Schoeller and McNeil have been instrumental in the perfection of this bill in the House where it was passed by a landslide (137 for, 9 against). They also are the co-chairs of the Missouri Green Schools Caucus which kicked-off this January at the Lewis and Clark State Office Building – a LEED Platinum building and home to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Nearly one quarter of all Missouri House members have signed onto the caucus already. The caucus held its second event at the St. Louis Community College Wildwood campus just last week on April 16. In order to further engage educational leaders, local municipal leaders and school board members were invited and over 40 people attended. Further events will be planned for Springfield and Kansas City. We look for the Caucus to work on greening Missouri schools through legislation and green building education. Special thanks also goes out to the folks at the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and St. Louis Community College for their continued support of green buildings and for hosting this year’s Green Schools Caucus events.

For more information about House Bill 1871, see the bill’s full text.

For more information about other environmental legislation in Missouri, visit the Missouri Votes Conservation website.

Submitted by Richard Schuessler, an employee of Huntleigh McGehee and USGBC-STL Government Advocacy Subcommittee Chair.

View More:  Advocacy, Green Schools

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