Green education’ required for building professionals under new law

Electricians, plumbers, etc. must take course in state energy goals to earn, renew licenses

By Guy Page

Special to the Observer

The State of Vermont has two separate “90 percent by 2050” energy goals. A new law makes learning those goals a condition of licensing for many of Vermont’s building construction and service professionals.

S220, signed into law Monday by Gov. Phil Scott, requires electricians, plumbers and other skilled construction, installation and service professionals to take a course studying the state’s energy goals as a prerequisite for licensing.

Beginning July 1, 2021, architects, landscape architects, wastewater systems designers, real estate appraisers and brokers, oil and gas installers and servicers, and electricians and plumbers must take a two-hour course on state and utility incentives and general information about the state’s energy goals — and how their professions may further those goals. The requirement applies to both initial licensure and renewal.

The 2011 Comprehensive Energy Plan sets the goal of meeting 90 percent of the state’s energy needs from renewable energy and increased energy efficiency by 2050. The Global Warming Solutions Act approved this year requires 90 percent reduction of carbon emissions by 2050 and allows third parties to sue the state for failure to achieve that.

S220 is this year’s version of the annual “OPR” bill, in which changes to professional licensing are made. OPR stands for Office of Professional Regulation, the wing of the Secretary of State administration responsible for recommending and implementing the changes. The bill also includes changes to licensing for health care providers, firearms instructors, private investigators and other licensed occupations. A legislative effort to require licensure of all home builders and remodelers in S220 failed.

The governor on Monday also signed S.187, transient occupancy for health care treatment and recovery; S254, union organizing; and S.237, promoting affordable housing. The Governor has now taken an action on all bills passed by the legislature during the 2020 legislative session, administration officials said. 

Guy Page is publisher of the Vermont Daily Chronicle, online at