Phius Policy Specialist Isaac Elnecave provides a rundown of Phius-related policy happenings from across the United States.
As always, there is plenty of passive building related policy activity percolating throughout the country. Following is a brief synopsis of recent Midwest-focused policy activity with respect to Phius.
The Ohio Housing Finance Authority (OHFA) is in the process of updating its Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP). The QAP consists of the set of rules and incentives used by the OHFA to help determine which applicants receive the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit to build affordable housing. The QAP provides an important vehicle for incentivizing the use of above-code standards. In the case of Ohio, the OHFA QAP incentivizes above-code construction by requiring that every application pick from a list of approved standards. In the current draft version, the OHFA proposes to add Phius to its QAP. By adding Phius to this list, the OHFA helps developers who are considering incorporating the Phius standard into their design move forward with that plan. The QAP isn't finalized yet and Phius will continue monitoring in case the agency solicits additional comments.
Focus on Energy, which administers the energy efficiency programs in Wisconsin, has released a new pilot that ties the use of Phius with significant incentives. Focus on Energy will provide $10,000 as a design incentive and an additional $4,000/unit upon receiving Phius certification. As this is a pilot program, there is limited funding available; it will fund a total of 100 units, with each individual project limited to 40. The pilot program will extend throughout 2024 or until funding runs out. For more information, visit Affordable Housing- A Passive Building Pathway | Focus on Energy.
The Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) has formed a technical advisory group (TAG) to consider the next update of the Minnesota energy code. DLI is using the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code as the base code (the code upon which they will consider amendments). Passive building advocates proposed the inclusion of an alternate compliance for passive building as an amendment.
Unfortunately, it was not approved by the TAG due to concerns about timing. There was worry that waiting for certification would delay projects. While those concerns are unfounded – Phius has multiple certification staff that move projects forward – the group, nevertheless, amended the alternate compliance path language to address this concern. This new language will be considered at an upcoming TAG meeting. Anyone interested in participating (particularly if you are supportive), can view the upcoming schedule of meetings here.