AIA Pennsylvania Attends Governor Wolf’s Executive Order Ceremonial Signing Ushering In New Environmental Standards for the Commonwealth

Governor Tom Wolf has signed the first statewide climate goal to reduce carbon emissions by 26 percent by 2025 from 2005. Up until now, Pennsylvania did not have a greenhouse gas emissions goal. The executive order establishes the first statewide goal to reduce carbon pollution in Pennsylvania, which is contributing to climate change. The executive order also establishes the GreenGov Council to boost green and sustainable practices in state government to help achieve the goals set in the executive order, while saving taxpayers money and creating jobs in the state’s clean energy economy. The Governor’s leadership will help improve millions of people’s health and the state’s green economy for generations. The goals continue to 80% reduction by 2050. 

AIA Pennsylvania is pleased to have initiated the EO strategy over 4 years ago and rallied the idea with our friends at Green Building United, USGC Central PA, Green Building Alliance, Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance (KEEA), other environmental and energy efficiency partners. The executive order specifically addresses state government goals: 

  • New buildings constructed by the Commonwealth agency, such as the Department of General Services, shall be designed as a high-performance building, achieving a 10 percent reduction in energy consumption. 
  • Reduce overall energy consumption by 3 percent per year, and 21 percent by 2025, as compared to 2017 levels. 
  • Replace 25 percent of the state passenger car fleet with battery electric and plug-in electric hybrid cars by 2025. 
  • Procure renewable energy to offset at least 40 percent of the commonwealth’s annual electricity use. 

 The Department of General Services shall have Architects and Engineers design any new building construction project, build-to-suit leased building, or renovation project by a Commonwealth agency, that costs more than 50 percent of the replacement cost of the building, to achieve a 10 percent reduction in energy consumption over ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1.2016. Agencies may seek US Green Building Council LEED certification, Green Building Initiative Green Globe rating, or a comparable numeric rating from another accredited sustainable building certification program where appropriate. 

 Higher energy efficiency for building projects reduces their operating costs, which gives them higher valuation.  Architects are able to lead the crucial early project goal setting process that leads to the establishment of high-performance targets and the incorporation of renewable energy in buildings.  The executive order’s push to convert to battery electric and electric vehicles has the potential to impact our utility grid, which implies architects and planners have influence on the forthcoming infrastructure investment that will impact the built environment. 

These are steps toward the goal, but we’ll need more to achieve the vision. Now let’s see if we can help convince the state to build 1 net-zero project in the next four years. The commonwealth has not built or planned a net-zero facility yet, and we’ll need to start in order to achieve the goals established. What do you say? 

Steve Krug
Stevens Krug,AIA, PE,LEEDap, AEE Fellow 

 Steve Krug is Principal at Krug Architects in West Chester, PA. He is Past-Chair of the PA Climate Change Advisory Committee, and currently serves as Vice-Chair of the CCAC, appointed by the Governor.