2013 was a record-breaking year for solar power in the United States. To better understand the solar permitting process in Oregon, the Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO) sent a survey to 103 building departments. Survey results provide some interesting feedback on how well Oregon’s solar code is working to streamline permitting more than three years after code adoption.
Despite having some of the cheapest electricity in the country, Oregon remains one of the most energy-efficient states in the nation. Only Massachusetts, California, and New York scored higher. The cost of electricity in all three of these states is much higher than in Oregon. In fact, Californians pay almost twice as much for electricity as Oregonians..
The national model codes are finally recognizing strawbale construction. The ICC action will have little effect in Oregon because strawbale construction standards have been part of the Oregon Residential Specialty (ORSC) since 1998.
For the past few years, much of the activity in the commercial construction sector has focused less on new construction and more on remodeling existing buildings. Major remodels are a great opportunity to not only increase occupant safety through seismic upgrades, but they are also the best and most cost-effective time to update other building systems to increase performance.