Bill Rolling Back Energy Efficiency Standards for Builders Passes House

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A bill rolling back energy-efficiency standards for commercial builders has passed the North Carolina House, reports the News & Observer.  The measure approved by the House reverts energy conservation codes to 2009 standards, which are 30 percent lower than today’s energy-use benchmarks.

House Bill 201 rolls back commercial conservation standards to 2009 levels. It originally proposed slashing energy efficiency standards for residential homes, which increased by 15 percent in 2010, but residential requirements were left intact with the support of the N.C. Home Builders Association. The association negotiated other breaks when it agreed to the 15 percent increase and did not want to undo that complex deal, said Michael Carpenter, executive vice president and general counsel.

Republican Rep. John Torbett of Stanley said his bill helps encourage commercial development and reuse of vacant buildings because the codes drive up costs. Businesses that produce energy-efficient materials have argued the bill will hurt a vibrant industry in the state.  Democratic Rep. Pricey Harrison of Greensboro said the bill destroys a collaborative effort from the Building Code Council that effectively regulates 40 percent of energy use.  Read More.