Connecticut Foundation
for Environmentally Safe Schools

Healthy High Performance Schools

Proposed CT High Performance Building Standards

The Connecticut Compliance Manual for High Performance Buildings had been approved by the Governor's office prior to an announcement in the Connecticut Law Journal (March 11, 2008) of a notice of intent to adopt these regulations. The notice of intent also stated that the public comment for these proposed regulations would end the same day (April 11, 2008) that a public hearing was held at the Office of Policy and Management in Hartford.

The regulations pertain to state owned buildings, including schools, and public school facilities. We will exclusively focus on the impact these regulations will have on state and public school construction and renovation. ln terms of school buitdings they apply to:

  1. New construction of a state school facility that is projected to cost $5 million or more, and is approved and funded on or after January l, 2008;
  2. State school facility renovation that is projected to cost $2 million or more in state funding, and is approved and funded on or after January l, 2008;
  3. New ccnstruction of public school facilities that are projected to cost $5 million or more, and of which $2 million or more is state funded and authorized by the CT General Assembly pursuant to Chapter 173 on or after January l, 2009; and
  4. Renovation of a public school facility costing $2 million or more of which $2 million or more state funded and authorized by the CT General Assembly pursuant to Chapter 173 on or after January 1, 2009.

As of July 1, 2007, PA 07-249 has placed very restrictive conditions on school districts seeking grants for school renovation projects. State reimbursement for school renovation projects will not occur unless:

  1. at least 75% of the building to be renovated is at least 30 years old;
  2. the same school has not been renovated with a state school construction grant within the twenty years before the new grant application date;
  3. the project results in the renovated building having a useful life comparable to that of a new building, and
  4. renovation is cheaper than building a new school.

Conditions 1 and 2 are significant changes to state law, while 3 and 4 have been state law for sometime. These changes in SB 1406 came from the Education Committee and Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee.

The regulations in their current form in the CT Compliance Manual for High Performance Buildings are focused only on the design and construction of buildings. Operations and maintenance issues will not be addressed except through the mandatory commissioning process unless they are covered by an existing state statute.

Mandatory Regulations are included for Building Commissioning, Integrated Design Process, Energy Performance 2l% Better Than Code, Energy Star products, lndoor Air Quality Management Plan, Water Efficiency, Recycling Materials, Erosion and Sediment Control, Sustainable Site Development, No Smoking Policy, Integrated Pest Management Plan, CFC Refrigerant Ban or Phase Out, and Metering of Buildings.

Twenty-six out of fifty-seven "Building Standard Options" must be implemented. Thirteen strategies to improve indoor environment are optional. It is possible to meet requirements without implementing any options dealing with indoor air quality.

The only mandatory indoor air quality requirement (See page 17) is for the development of an indoor air quality management plan, during the construction phase. Although this regulation is more detailed and explicitly stated, it covers some requirements already found in PA03-220, An Act Concerning Indoor Air Quality in Schools enacted in 2003. The authors of these regulations did not incorporate relevant provisions established in PA03-220.

Integrated pest management is mandatory, but only for general pest and rodent control. The reason we were given why integrated pest management is listed was that it was assumed to be an existing state statute. It is for state buildings, but not for public schools. Green Cleaning is not included in mandatory or optional requirements. The Governor's Executive Order and the law passed last year require Green Cleaning for state buildings and not for public schools.

These regulations were prepared for the CT Office of Policy and Management by Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP) with technical support provided by Energy and Resource Solutions. These are the same folks who wrote the Northeast Collaborative for High Perlormance School Protocol released in January 2007. Although the National High Performance Schools website claims that this set of school specific protocols from January 2007 can be used in Connecticut "…as an alternative to meeting energy efficiency and sustainable goals", we cannot find any language in the regulations to support this. Bill Leahy, a committee member, has informed us that what the National CHPS website asserts is not accurate.

In order to address the many serious shortcomings of these proposed regulations, ConnFESS prepared a list of Priority Recommendations. This list outlines regulations that:

  • Should be mandatory
  • Are missing from CT standards
  • Lack essential language

The Priority Recommendations have been endorsed by:

On April 11, 2008 Joellen Lawson, Diane Ethier and Martin Mador presented oral and written testimony on the proposed regulations at the Office of Policy and Management. Other testimony that stressed indoor air quality in schools was provided by industrial hygienist, Gil Cormier and parent Kerri Swift.

ConnFESS will continue to seek out endorsement for the Priority Recommendation List. We await feedback from the Office of Policy and Management regarding any changes to the proposed regulations.


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