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Policies to Support Net Zero Energy Also Support Concrete

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Policies and programs can dramatically change the landscape for the use of concrete products such as Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF). ICFs are a proven solution for energy efficiency in the mid-rise residential market. The first Zero Net Energy (ZNE) school in the nation was built with ICFs. Compared to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), ZNE buildings are a relatively new movement. However, there is burgeoning market interest in ZNE, and policies and programs can foster and grow that interest through direct support and the reduction of risks.

Some states are providing tax incentives for ZNE, typically with a focus on both residential and commercial. Many local jurisdictions have strategies to support green construction or other public goals such as LEED mandates that can be expanded to support ZNE. Some programs are:

• Colorado Bill HB13-1105 Energy Saving Mortgage Program (HB13) - This program reduces the total cost of a mortgage by $8,000 for a new or renovated home that is rated HERS 0 (ZNE). A new or renovated home that has a HERS rating greater than HERS 0 but less than HERS 50 will also receive a mortgage incentive (graduated incentives to be established by the Colorado Energy Office).
• A bill for the New York State Zero-Net-Energy Tax Credit (NYZNETC) was introduced in the New York State Assembly by Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton in May 2013. The bill calls for a $5,000, $7,500 and $10,000 personal state income tax credit for purchasing a HERS 50, HERS 25 and HERS 0 (ZNE) new or renovated home.
• New Mexico Sustainable Buildings Tax Credit (SBTC) - The SBTC is a personal or corporate tax credit for LEED-certified residential buildings that meet a HERS 60 and better efficiency rating and commercial buildings that meet or exceed the 2030 Challenge 60% energy reduction target.

Build with Strength, a coalition led by NRMCA that promotes concrete building systems through communications, project promotion, education and advocacy, can help leverage sustainable standards to help place more concrete. To learn more about these programs, or for more information on how local energy policies can help you, contact Tien Peng at or 206-913-8535.

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