Colorado Bill Will Lower Building Emissions, Support Union Workers
Later today, Gov. Jared Polis is expected to sign SB22-051, Policies To Reduce Emissions From Built Environment. The bill establishes a tax incentive for the installation of heat pumps in buildings and includes provisions requiring that certified contractors complete larger-scale projects. Additionally, a Buy Clean incentive, which encourages the use of building materials produced with lower emissions, will start in July 2024.
“We want to thank Senator Hansen and Representative Sirota for bringing this pro-environment and pro-labor legislation forward and Governor Polis for signing it,” said BlueGreen Alliance Western States Director Chris Markuson. “This is a bold step to decrease costs of construction, helping consumers access materials and technology that are better for the planet, and for reinforcing strong labor standards that properly ensure the most complex emissions reductions work in large buildings is done by highly skilled union workers.”
Nationwide, the buildings sector is the largest emitting sector in the United States when accounting for direct and indirect emissions. In 2019, 13% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions came from direct emissions of the buildings sector, primarily from heating and cooling. When electricity consumed by the end user—indirect emissions—is factored in, buildings account for 31% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
“Senate Bill 51 helps reduce the cost of building heating and cooling systems and Denver Pipefitters Local 208 represents thousands of workers across Colorado who are prepared to provide the full suite of energy services to Coloradoans, including the new options that’ll be made more affordable by this bill,” said LU 208 Business Manager Gary Arnold. “Reducing the cost of air source and ground source heat pump systems along with backup high-efficiency natural gas furnaces—while ensuring they’re installed correctly by qualified workers—will help our state’s residents both reduce their emissions and monthly costs.”
“This bill will have a significant impact on reducing Colorado’s building sector emissions and improving the efficiency of our building stock, reducing heating and cooling costs for Coloradans across the state,” said Elise Jones, Executive Director at Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP). “The emissions reduction potential of efficiency upgrades in buildings are frequently overlooked in discussions of how to decarbonize, but the impact of these efforts is undeniable. We thank Gov. Polis and the bill’s sponsors, Senator Hansen and Representative Sirota, for their leadership on this vital issue.”