Mississippi passes four energy efficiency laws as part of economic development plan

On April 23, 2013, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed into law four bills relating to energy efficiency. The four pieces of legislation strengthen the state’s energy office, increase energy efficiency standards of state-owned and commercial buildings, and create a revolving loan fund for state institutions to invest in alternative fuel vehicles. All will take effect on July 1, 2013. These four measures are part of Governor Bryant’s larger economic development plan called Energy Works: Mississippi’s Energy Roadmap, which also includes legislation to incentivize oil and gas production.

HB 1296 reorganizes and increases the recognition of the state’s energy office, the Mississippi Development Authority’s (MDA) Energy and Natural Resources Division. One of the newly established responsibilities of the Division is to promote energy efficiency within state agencies and the private sector in order to realize the environmental as well as the economic benefits; another is to promote renewable technologies within Mississippi. 

HB 1266 strengthens the energy efficiency standards for newly constructed state-owned buildings, which match the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 90.1-2010 standards. This only applies to construction projects above a certain size, and only applies retroactively to some state-owned buildings constructed after July 2009. According to the Governor’s office, higher energy efficiency will translate to financial savings by the state government.

HB 1281 strengthens the energy efficiency standards for commercial buildings, which match the ASHRAE 90.1-2010 standards. This only applies to commercial buildings under construction after July 1, 2013. Local governing authorities, rather than the MDA, will have the right to enforce and set penalties relating to these standards. This law makes Mississippi’s commercial building energy standards the highest in its region.

Lastly, HB 1685 establishes a $2.75 million zero-interest revolving loan fund available for municipalities and school districts to acquire vehicles that run on natural gas or propane, either through purchase or conversion. This fund will be administered by the MDA.

 

For more information:

Press Release: Gov. Phil Bryant Enacts Major Energy Efficiency Legislation
Energy Works: 2013 Landmark Energy Legislation in Mississippi
C2ES: Commercial Building Energy Codes Map
C2ES: Climate TechBook - Buildings