Counties: Let Us Enforce Energy-efficient Building Standards

On January 19, 2022, Associate Policy Director Dominic Butchko, testified before the House Environment and Transportation Committee in support of HB 61 Charter Counties – Enforcement of Local Building Performance Laws (Building Energy Performance Standards Act of 2022). This bill would give charter counties broader enforcement authority over local building energy performance standards (BEPS).

From the MACo testimony:

Under current law, when a building is found in violation of BEPS, charter counties may only
levy a civil fine up to $1,000 fine (or much lesser-used criminal fines and penalties). This
creates a potential perverse incentive – where a property owner may judge it cheaper to merely pay a nominal civil fine than comply with the energy standards. HB 61 seeks to more properly realign these incentives, by granting charter counties flexibility to impose fines up to $10 per square foot of the gross floor area of a building, and to assess fines with recognition of the property’s assessment. In other words, a large, profitable facility with the strongest incentive to flout the current rules would face more appropriately scaled consequences for doing so.

MACo testified on the bill’s crossfile, SB 81, on February 2, 2022.

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