Builders Versus WA State Over New Energy Code

It’s the Washington State Building Code Council (SBCC) against the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) in fight over new energy code adoption originally set for July 1st. Gov. Gregoire requested a delay of 9 months but builders are guaranteed 3 months.

This issue comes after the SBCC adopted a new code increasing energy efficiency by 18% to 26% in new homes. The SBCC’s actions resulted from Gov. Gregoire’s orders to improve energy code with a 30% reduction in energy use.

Builders argue that the new code would increase new construction from $4,000-$15,000 per unit. During a time when this industry is trying to recover in a down economy the Governor has decided to grant a reprieve and postpone the adoption until the builders have time to recuperate.

Overall, I think we can all agree that energy efficiency is important. Our dependence on oil is embarrassing and the spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a harsh reminder of the affects. As an Energy Star Verifier it would be our company’s best interest for the new code to pass, but we are struggling in this economy like everyone else. Therefore, I think any actions by the SBCC that may increase costs to builders substantially, should be postponed until our economy is doing better.
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