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Mayor Caldwell Signs Progressive Energy Code, Highlights Job Creation From City Green Energy Projects In Covid-19 Economic Recovery
Mayor Caldwell signs progressive energy Code, highlights job creation from City green energy projects in COVID-19 economic recovery
HONOLULU - Mayor Kirk Caldwell today signed Bill 25 (2019), CD2, FD1 into law following a unanimous 9-0 Honolulu City Council vote on May 20. Bill 25 adopts the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code for new commercial and residential buildings and includes local upgrades that expand access to solar power on residential roofs as well as electric vehicle charging in commercial and residential buildings on Oʻahu. The City and County of Honolulu now has the most ambitious energy code in the state.
"Oʻahu residents deserve energy efficient homes to be built on our island to improve long-term affordability and to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels," said Mayor Caldwell. "Whether it is eliminating energy waste and obsolete building practices, or improving access to rooftop solar and electric vehicle charging when it is the least expensive to install - during new construction - this new energy code will help pave the way for cost savings for residents and growth in local green jobs."
Many stakeholders have identified updating Honolulu's building codes as the most important step the City can take to ensure safe, efficient and resilient buildings in the face of the economic and climate crises. The new energy code is part of a broader effort by the City to update building, energy, electrical, plumbing and fire codes across the board, improving safety and efficiency. Improving green energy is also one of the places that offer hope for economic recovery. Environment America just announced for the seventh year in a row that Honolulu is the top city in the nation for solar installed per capita as ranked their Shining Cities 2020.
"Bill 25 is a major milestone for Oʻahu," said Josh Stanbro, Executive Director of the City's Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency. "This code protects the bottom line for our island residents and our island environment. Construction is going to be a major part of our economic recovery--and this code is going to help us build back better."
Updating Honolulu's energy codes marks implementation of a key action in the Oʻahu Resilience Strategy adopted by the City Council last fall, and was a key component of the City's energy goals in alignment with the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge.
"New Honolulu buildings will include energy efficiency features that could cut monthly utility bills in half, and they will be ready to support rooftop solar panels and electric vehicle chargers whenever businesses or residents decide to make the switch," said Climate Challenge Technical Strategist Maria Stamas. "All across the country, cities like Honolulu are recognizing the potential of building codes to reduce energy costs and meet ambitious climate goals."
Bill 25 is just one of many recent investments the City and County is making in clean energy and efficiency to spur the island's economic diversification and recovery. Last week, the Department of Environmental Services announced a massive new 3.6 megawatt solar system coming online to help the waste-to-energy facility, H-POWER, run its operations. This week, the City announced an expanded Economic Revitalization Office focused on supporting local economic development and encouraging a more diversified economy including sustainable agriculture and green energy. Additionally, two new multi-million dollar energy service performance contracts are currently in development to leverage private capital and technology to reduce energy use in City facilities and parks, save taxpayer dollars, and create local green jobs.
While Bill 25 applies to new construction only, during the final stages of the bill's passage Hawaiʻi Energy announced a bonus incentive for affordable housing developments statewide to offset costs to install electric vehicle chargers in new and existing buildings. Hawaiʻi Energy also increased rebates on home appliances and services to help residents today to reduce their energy use. The increased rebates are available till June 30 and range from $150 for new fans to $1500 for central air conditioning replacement. These upgrades save costs and create jobs on our island.
"The impacts of COVID-19 make it clear we need to make energy savings even more accessible and affordable for island families today," said Hawaiʻi Energy Executive Director Brian Kealoha. "We are pleased our programs can complement action at the City and County of Honolulu to put money back in residents' pockets and increase access to clean energy and clean transportation options."
Residents are encouraged to help inform the next priority energy and climate actions for Oʻahu as part of the City's development of its first-ever Climate Action Plan at www.resilientoahu.org/virtual-cap by June 15.
Stakeholders can learn more about Honolulu's new energy code by contacting the Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency at www.resilientoahu.org or 808.768.2277, or by attending a webinar hosted by Hawaiʻi Energy and partners on June 19 at 12pm HST. Register at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_cfASQuz9TYa5uIAbuZ7fjw.
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