Recent Congressional Action Good for Foam & Resiliency
Originally published by: PIMA — March 2, 2018
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The budget deal that addressed our country’s short-term funding woes included several positive reforms that impact buildings. First, improvements to the Federal Cost Share Reform Incentive will increase post-disaster federal cost-share with states from 75% to as high as 85% on a sliding scale based on a number of factors, including the adoption and enforcement of the latest building codes. This incentive will augment the reasons for states to timely adopt modern building codes (including the energy code!).
Second, under reforms to the Stafford Act, FEMA may replace or restore the function of a facility to industry standards without regard to pre-disaster condition and replace or restore components of the facility not damaged by the disaster where replacement or restoration is required to fully restore the function of a facility. This allows post-disaster funds to be more effectively used to improve the resiliency of damaged buildings and should create opportunities for higher performing roof systems to replace those damaged in disasters.
Congress also voted to “extend” several energy efficiency related tax provisions, including the Section 179D deduction for commercial building energy efficiency. However, in head-scratching fashion, the tax provisions were only extended through December 31, 2017. This means more work is ahead to preserve the policies for the long term and add much needed certainty to the marketplace.
Finally, in more budget news, the White House published its FY2019 budget request that includes steep cuts to key energy efficiency programs at the Department of Energy. The cuts would slash the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s budget by two-thirds hampering critical work performed by the Building Technologies Office. On a positive note, energy efficiency programs enjoy bipartisan support in Congress and the President’s DOE budget request is unlikely to carry much weight with lawmakers.