Program State Building Energy Standards
Category Regulatory Policy
Implementing sector State
Last Update
State South Carolina
Technologies Solar Water Heat, Solar Thermal Electric, Solar Photovoltaics

In June 2007, South Carolina enacted legislation (the Energy Independence and Sustainable Construction Act of 2007) to promote effective energy and environmental standards for construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of buildings in the state; to improve the state's capacity to design, build and operate high-performance buildings; to create new jobs; and to increase the state's energy independence. In June 2008, the state enacted additional legislation, H.B. 4766, requiring state agencies and public school districts to develop energy conservation plans towards an ultimate goal of a 20% reduction in energy use by 2020, as compared to 2000 levels.

In May 2013 the Sustainable Construction Advisory Committee responsible for adopting buildings codes was mandated to automatically adopt the most recent version of the rating systems developed by the Green Building Initiative and the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Enviornmental Design.

Sustainable Building Construction
All major facility projects in the state must be designed, constructed, and receive at least two globes using the Green Globes Rating System or receive the LEED Silver standard. All major facility projects in the state must be analyzed using a life-cycle cost analysis comparing the cost and benefits of designing, constructing, maintaining and operating the facility at the LEED Silver standard or two globes standard, or better, with certification; normal industry and regulatory standards as applicable; or some standard between the two that causes the project to be designed and constructed in a manner that achieves the lowest thirty-year life cycle cost. The State Engineer's Office may waive requirements for a proposed major facility project if it is determined that the costs of meeting the requirement are not economically feasible.

The program does not apply to the following types of projects:

  • a building, regardless of size, that does not have conditioned space as defined by Standard 90.1 of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE);
  • a public kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, secondary school, junior high school, or high school;
  • a correctional facility constructed for the South Carolina Department of Corrections, Department of Mental Health, or Department of Juvenile Justice;
  • a building project funded by the South Carolina Ports Authority, the Coordinating Council for Economic Development, or the South Carolina Infrastructure Bank; or
  • a building project funded by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control in which the primary purpose of the building project is for the storage of archived documents.

Energy Use Reduction Goals
Under H.B. 4766, all state agencies and public school districts are required to submit energy conservation plans to the State Energy Office for all buildings in use as of July 1, 2008. The goal of the plans should be to reduce energy use by 1% annually for five years beginning July 1, 2008. The law also sets an ultimate goal of reducing energy use 20% by July 1, 2020, relative to 2000 levels. Agencies and districts are required to implement all energy saving improvements that are cost-effective over a five-year time horizon.

The energy reduction goals do not apply to buildings designed, constructed and maintained under the Sustainable Construction Act of 2007 (see above). Nor do they apply to buildings smaller than 10,000 square feet or buildings at institutions of higher education designed for athletics or research. In addition, the program only applies to state agencies that are subject to the state procurement code. Each agency and school district is required to submit annual reports detailing their programs and accomplishments to the State Energy Office, which will then compile these reports for the state legislature.

In 2009, South Carolina also enacted additional legislation (S.B. 268) requiring all agencies to perform an audit and implement any energy, water, or wastewater conservation measures that are determined to be cost effective. All agencies must comply by July 1, 2011.

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