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State Issues New Guidance for Creating Energy Efficient Buildings, Lowering Energy Costs

$500,000 available in incentives for eligible public projects

PROVIDENCE, R.I. The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources has issued new voluntary building guidelines known as "stretch codes" to support the development of energy efficient buildings and to lower energy costs for building owners and occupants.

Rhode Island's stretch codes are part of a comprehensive effort to reduce long-term energy usage, support the state's growing green economy and increase energy affordability for residents, businesses, and governments. They are now available for use not only for in all state construction and renovation projects, but also for private sector projects as well.

There are several advantages to improving a building's energy efficiency. The first major benefit is substantial cost savings via lower energy bills, as well as reduced environmental impacts. Ratepayers may be eligible for financial incentives and rebates from energy efficiency programs that can help with construction and renovation costs. Energy efficiency also enhances the comfort and safety of buildings by improving lighting, reducing noise, improving indoor air quality, stabilizing temperatures and providing more control over climate zones. The stretch code also will help the State reach its greenhouse gas reduction targets, which aim to reduce statewide emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The code allows businesses to better promote their efficiency status and show that they are socially responsible and environmentally conscious.

"The stretch code is important because it creates a clear path for home builders, engineers and architects to make their buildings as energy efficient as possible and reduce long-term energy costs for occupants or owners," said State Energy Commissioner Carol Grant. "Most of these improvements can be done affordably, particularly when one factors in all of the available incentives and rebates from Rhode Island's energy efficiency programs. This is an important step toward reducing the State's carbon footprint and energy costs."

As part of the State's broader directive from Governor Gina M. Raimondo to "Lead By Example" (Executive Order 15-17), the Office of Energy Resources is offering up to $500,000 to incentivize large-scale renovations or new construction for public sector buildings using the stretch code. The incentive will be open to eligible municipal or public school buildings, and one or more projects will be selected through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process. The solicitation (#7590559) is posted on the Rhode Island Division of Purchases website. Proposals are due at 11 a.m. ET on Thursday, May 31, 2018.

The Office of Energy Resources led the development of the stretch codes in collaboration with the Rhode Island Building Code Commission, National Grid, the Green Buildings Advisory Committee, and other key stakeholders.

"Creating these guidelines encourages the use of advanced energy efficiency practices in the construction industry, which helps keep costs down," said State Building Code Commissioner John Leyden. "These savings can be passed down to the consumer and help protect the value of properties long into the future."

Under Governor Raimondo's leadership, Rhode Island remains a national leader on energy efficiency. The state is ranked third in the United States for energy efficiency programs and policy by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy's (ACEEE).

The new stretch codes may be viewed at: www.energy.ri.gov/policies-programs/lead-by-example/rhode-island-stretch-codes.php

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