By John Boling
On July 17, 2023, IIBEC submitted to a Massachusetts state legislative panel testimony recommending changes to a bill under consideration that would promote installing solar panels on the roofs of eligible schools. The bill, S. 2127, was the subject of a hearing by the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy.
The proposed legislation would create the Healthy and Sustainable Schools Office, which would coordinate an energy audit of all public schools and then, based on the metrics in the bill, implement the recommended energy efficiency improvements and install renewable energy systems on or near school property.
IIBEC made three recommendations in its testimony:
- Include language requiring independent, third-party design professionals to conduct inspections and any design work related to the project.
- Insert language stating that a roof inspection shall determine the expected service life of the roof system in relation to that of the renewable energy system and shall provide corrective action if required.
- Require the use of credentialed professionals on building enclosure projects.
Brian Pallasch, executive vice president & CEO of IIBEC, stated, “While IIBEC believes it is the owners’ decision to install solar panels on a roof, we know it is extremely expensive to take them off, so we recommend an independent consultant inspect the roof to determine if its service lifetime will match that of the solar equipment the bill proposes to install on the roof. In the event that a new roof is needed, a credentialed building enclosure consultant should be hired.”
The bill next will be brought up for consideration by the committee. If approved, it would then move to the full Senate for approval before being sent to the House for consideration as well.