ARRA Funds For State And Local Governments

Posted on:

In an effort to clarify how ARRA funding ties to state energy code adoption and enforcement, the following organizations have developed an explanatory statement in order to clarify for state and local governments the intent of Section 410 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and to offer assistance as states and localities adopt, provide training on, and enforce advanced building energy efficiency codes. The participants issued the following remarks regarding their statement (full statement further down).

ARRA emblem

ARRA emblem

* Alliance to Save Energy
* American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
* The American Institute of Architects
* American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers
* Building Codes Assistance Project
* Building Energy Efficient Codes Network
* International Code Council
* National Association of State Energy Officials
* Natural Resources Defense Council
* Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance
* Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance
* Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance
* Southwest Energy Efficiency Project
* U.S. Green Building Council

Remarks

We have joined forces to clarify what Congress intended to be crystal clear when it linked building energy code adoption and enforcement with funding under Section 410 of ARRA.

By accepting State Energy Program funding and submitting letters assuring the Department of Energy that their states would comply with the terms of Section 410, all 50 states have committed to do three things:

  1. Adopt a residential building energy code that meets or exceeds the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC);
  2. Adopt a commercial building energy code that meets or exceeds the ANSI/American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)/IESNA Standard 90.1-2007; and
  3. Develop and implement a plan, including active training and enforcement provisions, to achieve 90% compliance with the target codes by 2017, including measuring current compliance each year.

Key Deadlines Are Swiftly Approaching. With only a few states having adopted codes that “meet or exceed”—let alone comply with—the target codes, most have a long way to go. ARRA requires state plans to be designed to achieve 90% compliance with codes by 2017 and to make annual compliance progress assessments. The February 2010 anniversary of ARRA marks the Act’s first compliance deadline for states.

To ensure ARRA compliance, it is in each state’s best interest to begin the process of adopting target codes (or better) and to develop the means to train code officials to enforce them as soon as possible.

Help and Funding are Available for Enforcement and Training. In addition to revenue from building inspection fees, funding for enforcement and training is available from federal grants—including the State Energy Program (SEP) and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG)—and from existing state and federal energy efficiency funds. In addition, the groups issuing this statement are working together closely to boost new building code-related funding in the pending climate and energy legislation before Congress.

——

Explanatory Statement on Section 410, Recovery Act (HR1) by National Building Community Stakeholders (November 16, 2009)

Since the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in February 2009, State Energy Program (SEP) funding tied to building energy code adoption and enforcement has been the subject of much discussion and debate. The objective of this statement is to clarify the intention of the statute and to offer assistance to state and local governments to advance building energy efficiency codes, including code adoption, training in the operation of the codes and efforts at compliance and enforcement. We recognize that success in this area will not be easy, but we have joined together to help. In an effort to provide accurate, understandable, and actionable information to states, local governments, and the organizations and entities that support greater energy efficiency in the built environment, the undersigned groups offer the following information about Sec. 410, of ARRA.

The actual statutory provision is as follows:

Section 410 (a) (2)
The State, or the applicable units of local government that have authority to adopt building codes, will implement the following:

(A) A building energy code (or codes) for residential buildings that meets or exceeds the most recently published International Energy Conservation Code, or achieves equivalent or greater energy savings.
(B) A building energy code (or codes) for commercial buildings throughout the State that meets or exceeds the ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2007, or achieves equivalent or greater energy savings.
(C) A plan for the jurisdiction achieving compliance with the building energy code or codes described in subparagraphs (A) and (B) within 8 years of the date of enactment of this Act in at least 90 percent of new and renovated residential and commercial building space. Such plan shall include active training and enforcement programs and measurement of the rate of compliance each year.

Some of the descriptions of this statutory language provided by third parties have resulted in inaccurate information and confusion among those who are involved in meeting the requirements of this Act.

The key points are as follows:

1- Conditions for Acceptance of ARRA funding. All 50 state governors have submitted letters to the Department of Energy, providing assurances that their states would comply with the terms of Section 410. All 50 states have accepted SEP funds that were conditioned on these assurances. Therefore, all 50 states have committed to do three things:
a. Adopt a building energy code for residential buildings that meets or exceeds the 2009 IECC;
b. Adopt a building energy code for commercial buildings that meets or exceeds the ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2007; and
c. Develop and implement a plan, including active training and enforcement provisions, to achieve 90 percent compliance with the target codes by 2017, including measuring current compliance each year.

2- Achieving 90 percent Compliance in Eight Years Requires Prompt State Code Adoption. While ARRA, out of respect for the variations in state and local adoption procedures, includes no specific date by which states must adopt compliant building energy codes, the legislation does specify that state plans for demonstrating 90 percent compliance with the codes should be designed to achieve that compliance level within eight years from passage of ARRA, i.e., 2017. In order to ensure compliance with the law, it is in a state’s best interest to begin the process of adopting target codes (or better) as soon as possible. The measurement of compliance “each year” means states will need to begin assessing their rate of compliance with the target codes in February 2010.
3- Code Adoption Integral to Compliance. While there is not yet a published common means of measuring and reporting compliance with the target codes, we recommend assessing compliance with the existing codes. DOE is currently developing these common means. It is clear that unless a compliant building energy code addressing both residential and commercial buildings is adopted in the state, it will be extremely difficult to provide compliance statistics that are based on the target codes.
4- A Long Way to Go. As of this writing, only a few states have adopted codes that “meet or exceed” the target codes.
5- Training and Enforcement Essential to State Compliance. To achieve the required levels of compliance, training and enforcement must match the adopted state code or codes; so the process of adopting these codes in tandem with the development of such training and enforcement provisions is critical.
6- Funding Available for Enforcement and Training. Funding for enforcement and training can come from fees imposed for inspections, from grants (including SEP and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG)), from existing state and federal energy efficiency funds and from new funding supported by the groups that are working together to increase building code-related funding in the pending climate and energy bills.
7- The First ARRA Compliance Deadline is Approaching. The Department of Energy will begin requesting that states report their rates of compliance with the target energy codes in the near future, and we expect DOE to require regular reporting in conjunction with ARRA compliance.
8- Funding Opportunities For Jurisdictions. Congress is considering tying future funding for states to progress towards satisfaction of the assurances made in accepting ARRA funds.

The […] groups are committed to providing support to any requesting state and local government to achieve adoption of the target codes, to develop workable plans for training and enforcement, and to assist in developing a plan to address the measurement and reporting of annual compliance with the target codes.

Facility managers seeking guidance or advice can contact any of the groups participating in this statement.

Other posts by

Leave a Comment

» Comments RSS Feed