Charlotte, NC: Battleground

Day two here in Charlotte, and things are heating up!  For those who didn’t get a chance to read our last blog, we’re in Charlotte, North Carolina right now for the final hearing of the International Code Council.  The hearing will determine the minimum standards for energy efficiency in new building construction.  These standards will be used as the model for new home construction in over 40 states and counties throughout the country.  And since the buildings we build today last an average of 50-100 years, the decision that officials make at this hearing will impact the country for years to come. Earlier this morning, we passed a key proposal that will increase energy efficiency by 17% over the code that is currently in place.  It’s a huge leap and a great victory.  But it’s not enough.  Research tells us that we need to increase efficiency by around 30% in order to start making the real changes that the country needs in order to achieve energy independence and decrease the amount of greenhouse gasses that come from the building sector.  In fact even with a 30% increase over the current code, we’d still be behind the minimum energy code that’s used in California, Title 24.

Officials here still have many more proposals to vote on before the hearing ends.  While our comprehensive proposal to increase energy efficiency failed, we’re confident that we’ll be able to make it up by passing a series of individual proposals.   The biggest obstacle here is the Homebuilders Association, which is opposing our proposals every step of the way and trying to use the economy to defeat energy efficiency.  Don’t they get that increased efficiency is actually the easiest way to keep costs down?