Under the Dome

Council revives efficiency standards

The state Building Code Council usually doesn't get a lot of notice unless they get people upset.

The council did that last month when it narrowly defeated proposed building codes that would improve energy efficiency, voting to delay them until 2015.

The council decided on the five-year delay after home builders raised questions about how much the tighter energy standards would add to the cost of a new house.
Home builders said the additional costs could range from $10,000 to $20,000 a house, while a study from Appalachian State University put the additional cost at $2,400 for a $180,000 home.

Eleven environmental groups, including Environment North Carolina, the state Sierra Club, and the Conservation Council of North Carolina, sent Gov. Bev Perdue a letter last week asking her to intervene. The letter quoted Perdue's own promises in a letter the U.S. Energy Secretary last year, where she said the state would adopt a code for residential buildings that met or exceeded an international energy conservation code.

The council, which sets minimum building standards, is made up of governors' appointees.

The council decided today in another close vote, after much discussion about Robert's Rules of Order and many questions of its lawyer, to revive the issue and send it back to a committee,

Council chairman Dan Tingen didn't want the proposal brought back, but suggested another petition to accomplish the same goals could have been introduced at the council's December meeting. A council vote overturned his ruling.

Tingen said after the meeting that he had received a call from Perdue's office reminding him how interested she is in energy efficiency.


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Tougher efficiency standards needed

I am glad to see the state's Building Code Council is listening to the Governor and will likely undoe its shortsighted decision to delay proposed building codes that would improve energy efficiency until 1215. 

The hard environmental truth of today is that the time for delays and postponements are over.  Our world is slowly, but surely on a downward slide environmentally if left to those folks who want business as usual.  For those who want to save the world from its enhabitants, however, it is possible to reverse or slow down the harm done by the usual stuff of economic growth, which includes building new homes, offices, shopping centers, highways and the like.  We will keep growing in all these ways, of course, but by using all the green ways we can think of, our growth can be done much safer environmentally than if left alone to the impulses of an unalloyed free market system.  We have to think of future generations and suffer some now so our children and grandchildren and beyond can live in a world that has breathable air and drinkable water and where we have livable urban centers. 

As a candidate for NC Senate District 15, which covers North Raleigh including Falls Lake, and the Town of Wake Forest, I am focused on these issues and want to do all I can to conserve our natural resources and promote sustainable energy in both our commercial world and our neighborhoods.

Charles Malone


Council revives efficiency standards

Follow the money from home builders.

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