State Policy and Legislation
Many states, including Delaware, have passed legislation and developed initiatives focused on supporting sustainable energy investments and financial incentives. Executive Order 18, Leading by Example Towards a Clean Energy Economy & Sustainable Natural Environment, requires state agencies to take actions to address energy conservation and efficiency, use of renewable energy, environmentally responsible construction, recycling, clean transportation and environmentally sensitive procurement. The Executive Order directs the State’s Office Management and Budget (OMB) and DNREC to establish a plan to benchmark, monitor and track the energy use and carbon emissions of all State-owned and State-leased facilities. The State has chosen the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool as its benchmarking platform. In 2012, OMB’s Division of Facilities Management produced a progress report toward achieving goals of Executive Order 18. It documents measurable advancements by state agencies in in reducing pollution and waste, reducing government spending, developing clean energy jobs, and leading the private sector by example.
In 2011, the Delaware General Assembly passed HB 129 to establish an Energy Efficiency Investment Fund. Funding is provided to finance energy efficiency projects through competitive grants and low-interest loans, as well as reduce overall energy use and create jobs.
In 2013, the 147th Delaware General Assembly passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 34, which formally established a Green and Better Building Advisory Committee in Delaware. This legislation, supported by the Delaware Valley Green Building Council (DVGBC), brings together a diverse group of public and private sector individuals with expertise in sustainable building design to advise the Delaware General Assembly and the Governor. This Committee found that green building designs and construction can save as much as 30% or more on energy costs for Delaware. In July 2014, the 148th Delaware General Assembly passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 67 to augment the Committee with additional members from professional organizations representing the building industry.
Delaware’s Code for Energy Conservation provides a legal basis for green building of residential dwellings. The Delaware Energy Office, in consultation with the Green Building Council of the Home Builders Association of Delaware, is promoting the construction “zero-net energy” homes and buildings. These structures use energy-efficient construction, lighting, appliances and on-site renewable energy generation that result in zero-net energy consumption from the utility provider. All new residential and commercial building construction in the State of Delaware must be zero-net energy capable by December 31, 2025 and December 31, 2030 respectively.
OMB’s Division of Facilities Management, in coordination with the Division of Energy & Climate, utilized the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) to implement energy efficiency improvements at several state-owned facilities. Delaware has already made progress to ensure that LEED design principles are implemented for resource efficiency and environmental sensitivity. Currently, the certification process is underway at the Carvel State Office Building in Wilmington, as well as the Richardson and Robbins Building in Dover.
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s (DNREC) Division of Energy & Climate has taken the lead on providing information on green building incentives in Delaware. Under Delaware’s Green Energy Program, grant incentives are provided for qualifying renewable energy systems installed in the state. The Delaware Electric Cooperative offers grants through the Renewable Resource Program to offset the installed cost of photovoltaic, solar water heating, wind, and geothermal renewable energy systems. Member-owners and contractors may apply for grants through the Division of Energy & Climate. Municipal Green Energy grants, administered by the Division of Energy & Climate, are also available to encourage and support renewable energy technologies. Availability is limited to electric customers of several Delaware municipal electric utilities that are contributing to the Municipal Green Energy Fund. The Delaware Municipal Electric Cooperation (DEMEC) has published a Municipal Utilities’ Green Energy Fund Program guide that describes the program’s provisions and eligibility.
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
A collaborative research agreement between the University of Delaware (UD) and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) initiated a “Charging Up Delaware” program in 2014. The program is designed to promote a network of electric vehicle charging stations to facilitate long-distance trips with electric vehicles within the State. It is hoped that these charging stations will support greater use of electric vehicles, which do not release air pollution or carbon dioxide, unlike gasoline-fueled vehicles. In August 2014, the City of Rehoboth Beach commissioners approved a pilot program to install high-speed electric vehicle charging stations at two downtown parking spots through the Charging Up Delaware program. In November 2014, Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) officials announced plans to install two electric vehicle charging stations at the Lewes Terminal of the Cape May – Lewes Ferry. The charging stations will be provided free of charge to the DRBA through the Charging Up Delaware program.
Created in June 2012, the Energy & Sustainable Leaders Roundtable engages businesses and development communities in energy use reduction and minimizing their environmental and carbon footprints. With AstraZeneca, Brightfields, and Barclays as several of the key members, the Roundtable is working toward its goal of sustainable building construction and operation.