Bipartisan Energy Codes Bill a Boon for Consumers

energy_efficient_house_conceptBipartisan legislation introduced recently by Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) would help promote savings in commercial buildings and residential homes through the use of more cost-effective energy codes, which set energy efficiency baselines for buildings, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

“By requiring that any code or proposal supported by the Department of Energy has a payback of 10 years or less, the bill would allow homeowners to invest in energy-efficient windows, lighting and other features that will significantly reduce their utility bills,” says NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly, a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del.

In addition to accelerating cost-savings for homeowners, the Energy Savings and Building Efficiency Act (H.R. 5027) stipulates that the Department of Energy would serve as a technical advisor in the development of energy codes and prohibit the agency from advocating for certain technologies, building materials or construction practices.

“The agency’s strong suit is technical analysis and its calculations on payback and efficiency can help code officials make more informed decisions and result in cost-effective code change proposals,” says Kelly. “That transparency leads to better building.”

Specifically, the bill would ensure that all Department of Energy code change proposals are:

  • Made available to the public, including calculations on costs and savings
  • Subject to the official rule-making process, allowing for public comment
  • Taking into account small business concerns

“This bill will help ensure that new homes become increasingly energy efficient, but not at a pace the market cannot bear,” says John Floyd, principal of Ole South Properties in Nashville. “Our buyers want to be assured that the additional cost comes with a reasonable payback so they can recoup the money they spent.”

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