Central PA Green Building Council

Meet Our New Executive

DVGBC, in collaboration with USGBC Central PA and Green Building Alliance, developed a statewide Green Building Agenda, which encourages Pennsylvania's gubernatorial candidates to capitalize on opportunities already present in the Commonwealth to support and expand the green building economy and outlines policies that our community would like to see the governor champion. We also asked the candidates to complete the following questionnaire to learn more about the specific green and sustainable building policies that they would pursue if elected Governor in November.

PA Green Building Questionnaire: Gubernatorial Candidates' Responses

I believe it is important that we explore ways to encourage adoption of the latest energy codes. The prior method, however, automatically adopted every code promulgated by a national entity without the ability to examine specific standards to determine if they were appropriate or could be tailored to Pennsylvania.

The UCC should be updated biannually to embrace the most aggressively energy efficient methods and technologies. Appointments to the UCC Review and Advisory Council will match this aim.

I will support updates to Pennsylvania’s Uniform Construction Code. Pennsylvania’s building codes are based on the 2009 international codes, making them five years out of date, which not only threatens the safety of residential and commercial buildings, but also makes it less likely buildings will take advantage of cost-saving measures. Additionally, the absence of up-to-date building codes may affect the affordability of flood insurance for Pennsylvania communities as I understand FEMA is considering the presence of model building codes as a requirement for federally subsidized coverage.

Already, we are suffering from the missed opportunity to realize the 15% increase in energy performance that was tied to the 2012 codes. Homes meeting the 2012 codes could save homeowners between $5, 400 and nearly $20, 000 over the life of mortgage. We need to return to the practice of approving new codes triennially so more homeowners can take advantage of these benefits.

To do so, we must amend Act 1 of 2011 as it has effectively broken Pennsylvania’s code adoption process, that includes relying either on a majority vote or a two-thirds "opt-out" vote to approve updated codes rather than the current two-thirds requirement for adoption. Additionally, as governor, I will ensure representatives of each sector of the building industry are included on the Review and Advisory Committee, rather than giving one sector a disproportionate level of representation. I think Senate Bill 1023 offers a number of good approaches to fixing this broken system, and I would support similar legislation.

The Commonwealth’s building codes are out of date. The delay in updating the building codes is not only keeping homeowners, companies and other property owners from realizing valuable energy savings, but is also doing harm to our environment.

As Governor, I would support and push for the much needed update to Pennsylvania’s building codes and fix the broken code adoption process by calling on the Review and Advisory Council to require mandatory and timely updates to Pennsylvania's Uniform Construction Code by requiring and implementing international and national best practices regarding building and energy codes and incentives.


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Q&A

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What are the heating temperature requirments for apartment buildings with central heating in the state of PA?

I concur with my colleague above. It is generally up to individual municipalities to set standards for heating. Just curious, do you pay separately for heat or is it included in your monthly rent? This may have some impact on your case.
Either way if it is becoming unbearably cold you MAY be able to withhold rent for the Landlord's failure to keep the premises habitable which is implied in every lease. Before you take any action on these issues you should seek the guidance of a local attorney that practices landlord/tenant disputes.
Best of Luck!

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How much does it cost to build a house (cost per sf) in central PA?

We typically see anything from $125-$175 a square foot. The higher ranges would be majorly upgraded materials.