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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 10, 2017 11:49 AM
From: Senator Daylin Leach
To: All Senate members
Subject: LEED Compliant Schools
In the near future I plan to re- introduce legislation to amend Act 34 of our state’s Education Code to exempt monies paid to build a LEED compliant school from consideration under Act 34’s formula. This bill has previously been introduced in the house where it passed unanimously. The original point of Act 34 was to prevent school districts from building huge structures by triggering a referendum if a school district spends more than allowed under a formula. However, the unintended consequences of Act 34 are preventing environmentally friendly schools.

The United States Green Buildings Counsel has devised a set of standards, called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (“LEED”) standards. Schools built according to LEED standards are much more energy efficient. They reduce pollution and are significantly cheaper to operate in the long run.

Critics note that LEED compliant schools cost a bit more to build on the front side. However, the savings over the 30-40 year life span of a school are many times that initial additional cost. Yet, this initial additional cost will, often, bring the school construction over Act 34 limits, and thus, result in school boards just building non-LEED compliant schools to avoid the referendum. This is bad for the environment, and this is bad for the very taxpayers that Act 34 was passed to protect.

My legislation would simply add money spent for LEED compliance to the other costs that the statute exempts from counting against the Act 34 limits (other exemptions include site acquisition, engineering fees, rough grading, etc.) This is a good, win-win bill which will add much to the quality of life of our communities.

If you have questions about this legislation, please contact my Legislative Director, Jon Tew at jtew@pasenate.com or 610-768-4200.

Introduced as SB212