Legislation and Policy
- Sustainability Institute staff was primarily involved in the development of Energy Star Homes code requirements. This initiative resulted in ten of thirteen Long Island towns adopting more stringent energy efficiency codes that included a requirement for independent verification of energy performance of new homes. The first Green Paper released by the Sustainability Institute documented the results of widespread adoption of these codes. The Federal Government will be rolling out changes to the Energy Star Homes program in 2011, and the Sustainability Institute has been engaged with representatives of the building industry and municipalities to revise and adapt town codes to account for these changes. These talks are close to reaching agreement where environmentalists Sustainability Institute staff and the building trade groups have identified common ground that will result in a joint call for new building code policies in 2011.
- The Sustainability Institute helped to draft and advocate for the State Energy Star bill that achieved a bi-partisan vote in the Senate Energy Committee and, although not enacted, was approved by the full Senate in 2010. Also, the Town of Brookhaven reacted to the proposed legislation by adopting the "tiers" approach to their Energy Star homes code, which was covered in the LI Advance on June 3, 2010.
- The Sustainability Institute helped to draft and advocate for the Suffolk County law sponsored by Legislator Wayne Horsely and adopted on December 7, 2010, on how to define a home energy audit. Suffolk became the first municipality in the nation to set such standards, and Nassau County is currently also considering adopting this legislation. The Suffolk legislation was highlighted in a Newsday editorial on Dec. 15, 2010.
We consider it a testament to our process of including a wide variety of stakeholder viewpoints in the development of our policy analyses and of maintaining respectful dialogue throughout the legislative process, that legislation based on our policy work is passed with bi-partisan and most often unanimous support. Even when there are concerns raised from particular stakeholders early in the process, by remain engaged with them and working to find common ground those concerns are often addressed. For example, in the case of the Suffolk County energy audit law, many of the parties that initially opposed the proposal testified in favor of the law at the public hearing, and no one spoke in opposition.