What’s the Bill about?
The recently passed Climate Solutions Now Act addresses decarbonization of existing buildings and contains directives that would pose both financial and logistical challenges for commercial property owners. Although there are exemptions and contingencies, it could be a “first sign” of mandates to come.
In its present state the bill establishes the following goals, among others:
- 20% reduction in direct building emissions by 2030
- Net-zero direct emissions by 2040.
Is it realistic?
While the date goals of these mandates are daunting, they are far less aggressive than what was originally proposed in the legislature. Thanks to testimony by several industry advocates, the dates were modified to reach the carbon reduction goals under a more palatable and staged timeline.
One big impact for carbon reduction is going to be not only energy use reduction, but also the elimination of fossil fuels on-site. This means that gas fired and dual fuel HVAC systems (systems that use gas in the warmup phase and electric systems to maintain heat) will need to be phased out over time. In addition, to meet the mandates, property owners will likely need to purchase energy from renewable, carbon neutral resources.
What can property owners do (besides not panicking)?
RIGHT NOW: Prepare by starting with the “low hanging fruit” with initiatives such as:
- Performing energy audits at your properties
- Putting more precise controls on you HVAC systems
- Upgrading to high-efficiency lighting packages
IN THE FUTURE: Looking further out, consider the following:
- If you’re installing or replacing HVAC systems, it might be wise to stay away from those that use natural
gas as a fuel; those may work against your carbon emissions goals in the future.
- Look for ways to generate electricity on site, for example: if you’re replacing your roof, it may be worth
evaluating the installation of solar panels so that the useful life of your roof and panels are coterminous.
As our local and federal legislators are looking for ways to curb carbon emissions to slow global warming, property owners should be planning out for the future with these mandated deadlines in mind. It may prove to be a mistake to buy a system now that can’t benefit your carbon footprint in the future and has to be replaced before the end of its useful life.
As part of ongoing education efforts, MacKenzie’s property managers host monthly lunch-and-learns with trusted vendors to stay apprised of trends, legal updates, and other industry-related changes. We are pleased to pass along this information to our clients in summary form to initiate discussion. This information is not intended as a call to action, but rather an opportunity for us to work with you should you feel your asset could benefit from further discussion on the matter.