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New initiatives could bolster rooftop PVs, energy efficiency retrofits

June 15, 2011 |
Drew Ballensky

Two new developments in Washington may give a boost to solar energy and energy-efficient building retrofits. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent, has enlisted New Mexico Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman and Arkansas Republican Sen. John Boozman as co-sponsors of the “10 Million Solar Roofs Act of 2011” (S. 1108) ( The bill aims to significantly reduce the cost of permitting related to the installation of rooftop solar power systems by rewarding communities that streamline cumbersome solar energy permitting processes.

In another green policy development, the US Green Building Council has gained strong support for a revamping of federal tax incentives related to green building retrofits. The USGBC and more than 85 groups representing building owners, contractors, architects, and other stakeholders in the built environment, have thrown their support behind a plan to modify the tax deduction for energy-efficient commercial facilities. The proposal would:

• Measure energy savings compared to the existing building baseline, rather than requiring existing buildings to meet and exceed the requirements of the energy code for new construction.
• Link the amount of the incentive to energy savings achieved.
• Allow the building owner to claim 60% of the incentive at the time the energy efficiency measures are put into service, and the remaining 40% of the incentive after two years of demonstrating the expected savings have occurred.

“This unprecedented level of accountability will encourage the proper operations and maintenance in high performance buildings, an Achilles heel of efficient designs that depend on the operators to live up to their full potential,” according to the USGBC.

Drew Ballensky | Reconstruction Blog

Drew Ballensky is general manager of Duro-Last Roofing, Inc.’s central U.S. facility in Iowa and company spokesman for Duro-Last’s cool roofing, sustainability and architectural education programs. He is past-president of the Chemical Fabrics and Film Association and chairman of CFFA’s Vinyl Roofing Division. Drew earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from the University of Northern Iowa and master’s degree in business administration from Florida State University.
Drew has over 29 years experience in business and industry in various engineering and managerial capacities. He has worked in the U.S. and Canadian operations for a major international manufacturer of pre-engineered steel buildings, was a financial analyst with a major athletic apparel manufacturer and was an owner of a general contracting company.

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