Talks Continue on Energy Code Legislation

NAHB continues to hammer home the important message of cost-effectiveness as House Energy and Commerce Committee and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee conferees meet to finalize legislation intended to make buildings more energy efficient.

Home builders are pushing the House version of the bill, which is aimed at ensuring affordability along with efficiency: The House bill would require that any building code or code change proposal supported by the Department of Energy (DOE) have a clear financial payback of 10 years or less.

“We need to protect home owners by helping to ensure they will see a return on their investment,” said NAHB Chair Ed Brady. “It’s bad policy – and bad news for home owners – when building codes force builders to install costly materials and equipment that save energy, but that won’t provide a financial payback for 20, 50 or even 100 years. Energy efficiency needs to be cost effective, or it really isn’t efficiency.”

A group of leading building product manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers sent a joint letter to Congressional leaders urging them to act quickly on this legislation intended to make buildings more energy efficient and oppose the NAHB-supported provisions on energy codes.

Importantly, the manufacturers back a provision in the Senate bill, which grants DOE more authority in writing energy codes but ignores the rising costs to comply with these codes.

“We urge conferees to retain the current Senate language which supports strong, updated model building energy codes,” the manufacturers’ letter said.

NAHB, the American Wood Council, National Association of Realtors, American Gas Association and other national groups asked Congress in September to keep affordability as addressed in the House bill as it considers legislation.

This article is a NAHB Now blog post.