High Performance Buildings

A major priority of the Kentucky Conservation Committee (KCC) for the 2008 Kentucky General Assembly was legislation that would require state government to create demand for high performance buildings, using its own capital construction budget as a stimulus. The state owns over 7,000 buildings and leases another 800, and has a two-year capital budget of almost $10 billion for new construction and renovations.


High performance buildings score highly on “green” rating systems for energy efficiency, improved worker/ student productivity, protection of health, environmental sustainability, reduced liabilities, and lower life cycle costs.  Commercial and public entities have constructed high performance buildings in Kentucky, but the work force skills and some materials used in these buildings are in limited quantities within the state. 


Last fall, KCC board member Russ Barnett drafted a White Paper that outlined desirable legislation. Also in the fall, KCC invited the Kentucky Chapter of the Green Building Council to present the Leadership in Environmental Energy and Design (LEED) certification program to our annual membership meeting.


When the 2008 General Assembly opened, KCC worked with other environmental advocacy organizations and Representative Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, to develop an energy conservation bill. KCC’s High Performance Building legislation was included in HB 2, the bill that resulted from the collaboration. HB 2 passed the General Assembly in the final hours of the 2008 session with these provisions:

·         The Finance and Administration Cabinet must establish an advisory committee and issue standards based on LEED, Green Globes, and other national rating systems;

·         Government and state university buildings entering the design phase before July 1, 2009, must meet the new design standards;

·         Buildings that meet the new design standards will be given preferences in leasing procedures after July 1, 2008, and must meet the new standards if leased after July 1, 2018.


In addition, HB 2 requires collaboration between the Departments of Education and Workforce Development to train students and workers in sustainable building technology, and at the suggestion of the Kentucky Woodand Owners Association, encourages the use of locally and sustainably grown timber products.