As another year winds down, it’s time to take the opportunity to reflect on the accomplishments our industry has made over the last year – and where there’s still room for improvement. We saw many ups in the green building market, while very little was accomplished for us on the legislative side of things. Let’s look back at 2017 so we can look forward.

Legislation Lull

Beneficial legislation for our industry was few and far between. But there were a few important milestones:

  • July: Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy vetoed the state’s recently passed legislation that aimed to dictate how quickly warranties get processed and paid for windows, roofing and siding. This might have seemed like a minor victory at the state level, but it was actually a major victory that eliminates a potential precedent for other states to follow. Read more in the blog “Kudos to Connecticut Governor, WDMA Members.”
  • November: The House passed the “sue and settle” reform bill, which was used to remove the opt-out provision of the Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule, which has hampered our industry ever since. The new bill would necessitate terms of the settlement be published in the Federal Register for public review before being finalized, allowing for greater participation from industry in the process. Read more in the blog “House Bill Shines Necessary Light On ‘Sue and Settle’ Process.”

And while LRRP reform is still very much a work in progress, the EPA did agree to waive certain requirements for emergency conditions such as hurricanes as communities continue to recover and rebuild following hurricanes in Florida and Texas. While it wasn’t as much as we’d hoped, it was one step forward.

 Green Building Boom

If there were a scorecard, green building would be the big winner for the year with numerous examples of growth and measures to make it more affordable being reported.  The banner year in green building went something like this and is largely due to efforts from those of us in the private sector:

  • April: The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released its Sustainability 2017 Report, a survey of members that focuses on consumer demand for green homes. The report indicated that 56 percent of respondents found clients are at least somewhat interested in sustainability as they search for new homes; yet, around 31 percent of realtors taking part in the study did not feel comfortable or prepared to answer questions on the subject. This marked a new opportunity for us as an industry to help educate realtors and underline the need for universally accepted ways to appraise the value of energy-efficient investments. Read more in the blog “Realtors Hold One of the Keys to Green Home Demand.”
  • May: Green building is important to owners of multifamily structures, but financing has always been a concern. With programs like Fanny Mae’s green financing program, more options are now available to help owners realize the true benefits of green retrofits. And now, more and more green financing options are becoming available. Read more in the blog: “Financing: Overcoming the ‘Green’ Barrier in Multifamily Housing.”
  • August: The National Green Building Standard™ (NGBS) celebrated its 100,000th certified home. In the grand scheme of things, this might seem like a small number relative to the market size, but was a big accomplishment in my mind because it is a product of the private industry responding to a growing demand for standardized energy-efficiency reporting. Read more in the blog “Time Out for Some Good News.”
  • September: The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Dodge Data & Analytics released Green Multifamily and Single-Family Homes 2017 SmartMarket Brief, an eye-opening report that indicates that green building isn’t only catching on, it’s becoming the norm with at least one-third of single-family and multifamily builders building at least 60 percent of their projects green. Read more in the blog “Green Building in New Construction: Skeptics Get Wakeup Call.”

Overall, ‘The View from Here in the Rearview Mirror’ is that 2017 ended up being a good year for our industry. But we still have much room for improvement in 2018 as we consider our New Year’s resolutions.

What’s your View? Email me directly at eric.jackson@quanex.com.

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