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Energy Code Delayed - But Huge New Costs Still Loom!

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At the urging of the Council of Economic Advisors, and after filing of a lawsuit by the Building Industry Association of Washington, Governor Gregoire requested a delay of the implementation of the new energy code until April 1, 2011. In a letter to the Satate Code Commission, she stated: "We cannot risk further delay of our state recovery, or worse, a deepening recession. The needs of our families and communities for jobs, and a healthy economy, must take precedent."

 

What the Code Council and Governor made abundantly clear is that this is just a delay, not a change in direction. Ultimately, the Legislature and the Governor have charged the Code Council to reduce energy use by 70% between the current code and the 2031 code. In asking for a 70% reduction in energy use in just over 30 years, they have set an arbitrary and overly agressive target that may never be met, and have done so without input from the industries that are being charged with carrying out those mandates, or any idea of what the ultimate costs of these changes will be.

 

In the coming months, we will be working with state and national organizations to promote some common sense changes to the new code, trying to make it both effective AND workable for everyone. We will let you know how you can make your voice heard on this issue too. We look forward to an engaged dialog with our customers and the government in Olympia.

 

In a temporary victory for consumers and a battered state economy, the Governor last week acknowledged what our industry has been telling her for months. At the urging of the Council of Economic Advisors, and after filing of a lawsuit by the Building Industry Association of Washington, Governor Gregoire requested a delay of the implementation of the new energy code until April 1, 2011. In a letter to the Satate Code Commission, she stated: "We cannot risk further delay of our state recovery, or worse, a deepening recession. The needs of our families and communities for jobs, and a healthy economy, must take precedent."

 

The Washington State Building Code Council enacted an emergency delay of the code until October 29, 2010. During this time, they will open up a public review of the code to consider a change to the April 1st date the Governor requested. While it is likely they will move the implementation date to April, we will continue to be involved in this issue to promote this outcome.

 

What the Code Council and Governor made abundantly clear is that this is just a delay, not a change in direction. Ultimately, the Legislature and the Governor have charged the Code Council to reduce energy use by 70% between the current code and the 2031 code. In asking for a 70% reduction in energy use in just over 30 years, they have set an arbitrary and overly agressive target that may never be met, and have done so without input from the industries that are being charged with carrying out those mandates, or any idea of what the ultimate costs of these changes will be.

 

The currrent code changes require duct testing, sealing and insulation not only in new construction, but also in existing homes. It also required significant changes in the envelope and insulation of new homes. These changes to the code will add thousands to simple furnace repalcements for current homeowners, and tens of thousands to the costs of new homes for consumers. In the government's own analysis, these sweeping changes only increased energy efficiency by 18%. If that only got us to 18%, imagine what will it take to get us to 70!

 

Beyond this the testing and inspection requirements of the code also make it impossible to tell the homeowner in advance how many duct tests/inspections will be required, or what the costs for those tests will ultimately total. Two or more tests and a 3rd party certification may ultimately be required, effectively asking homeowners to sign a blank check to their contractor.

 

We support the goal of reducing energy consumption and costs to homeowners. Unfortunately, if forced to write a blank check and pay thousands more for a new system to have their ducts sealed and insulated, many homeowners will instead choose to repair their old, inefficient systems. Homes will be left less efficient that if they had simply installed a new system without upgrading the ducts.

 

In the coming months, we will be working with state and national organizations to promote some common sense changes to the new code, trying to make it both effective AND workable for everyone. We will let you know how you can make your voice heard on this issue too. We look forward to an engaged dialog with our customers and the government in Olympia.

 

The full text of the new energy code is available at http://sbcc.wa.gov/page.aspx?nid=4.

 

Vice President - Adam brings over two decades of experience in operations, sales, advertising and marketing to our team. He’s been an important asset to Bel Red since 2005, serving as Sales Manager, General Manager, and now Vice President responsible for company operations.

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