HOUSE DEMOCRATS NEWS
As New Mexico works toward a clean energy future, legislation incentivizing sustainable building practices and energy efficiency upgrades cleared its first committee in the Senate today, passing the Senate Tax, Business and Transportation Committee.
Sponsored by Rep. Kristina Ortez (D-Taos), Rep. Tara Lujan (D-Santa Fe), Rep. Javier Martínez (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Linda Serrato (D – Santa Fe), and Senator Martin Hickey (D-Albuquerque), House Bill 15 updates and expands the existing Sustainable Building Tax Credits to account for modern-day standards and create incentives for the implementation of environment-friendly practices. Changes include:
- Requires a higher level of Leadership in Energy and Design (LEED) certification to qualify for the credit, encouraging developers and property owners to invest in the most efficient products, so the state can adapt as quickly as possible to meet our climate goals.
- Offers bonuses of up to $1 per sq. ft. for a fully electric house, and up to $.25 per sq. ft. for a house that is zero-carbon, energy, waste, or water certified.
- Provides tax credits for installing energy-conserving products in existing commercial and residential buildings, and increased credits for installation of these products in affordable housing or other buildings intended for occupancy by low-income persons.
“House Bill 15 amends New Mexico’s sustainable building tax credit from 2015, which has been instrumental in transforming the market for new buildings in New Mexico,” said Rep. Ortez. “As the state has updated energy conservation codes, we also need to update this tax credit to ensure that low and middle-income families can benefit and to ensure we’re creating incentives for builders who go above and beyond the latest codes to build the most efficient and sustainable homes.”
“As New Mexico works to cut down on our carbon footprint and move to a clean energy future, we must think differently about how we build and equip our homes and office buildings,” said Rep. Lujan. “House Bill 15 rewards both commercial builders and everyday homeowners who are thinking ahead of the curve and helps make implementing sustainable measures affordable for hardworking New Mexicans.”
“Implementing energy-efficient practices is critical and it is one of the easiest and most affordable steps to addressing the climate crisis facing our state, nation, and the world,” said Rep. Martínez. “Whether you are building a whole new community, retrofitting an existing property, or simply installing new windows and doors in your family home, HB 15 will help more New Mexicans invest in energy-conserving products and systems.”
“New Mexico’s low-income families face an energy burden three times higher than other households due to inefficiencies. Not only is this expensive for them, but it harms our environment,” said Rep. Serrato. “It’s best for our communities and families when everyone, no matter their income, has access to energy-efficient products and improvements. HB 15 significantly increases the affordability of sustainable and cost-saving products and improvements that many New Mexicans would love to implement, but struggle to fit into their budget.”
House Bill 15 passed the Senate Tax, Business and Transportation Committee with a 9-2 vote, and will be heard next in the Senate Finance Committee.
An amendment in the Senate Tax Committee makes tax credits available for projects that update existing buildings applicable when the bill takes effect but extends the 2015 tax credit for projects on new buildings for one additional year so that builders have time to adjust and plan for changes.
Members of the public can track legislation on the New Mexico Legislature website, access committee meetings and House floor sessions via the Webcasts tab, or participate by Zoom to provide public comment on committee hearings. During the 2021 Legislative Session, the House of Representatives is focused on passing critical legislation while protecting the health and safety of the public, the staff, and the legislators.