Trick or Treat

This Halloween, local city employees from across the county will meet in North Carolina to vote on one of the most important issues affecting America, and the outcome will be a real life trick-or-treat.  Chances are you’ve never heard of this vote, yet it will affect everything from CO2 emissions to your monthly energy bills. That’s why Global Green USA will be at the vote, educating officials about the right way to vote and blogging from ground zero (and sneaking some candy corn while we’re at it). Every three years, city and state employees from around the country meet to vote on how buildings in over 30 states will be constructed in terms of energy efficiency.  It sounds mundane, but it’s actually a pretty huge deal.  Buildings use more than 40 percent of America’s energy and more than 70 percent of our electricity.   That makes them the largest energy consumer and the largest source of wasted energy.  Simply put, we cannot reach America’s energy efficiency goals without significantly improving our building efficiency. Global Green, as part of a broad and diverse coalition – the Energy Efficiency Codes Coalition (EECC) - will present a proposal to make the model energy efficiency code more than 30 percent more efficient.

If the proposal passes, homeowners who buy a house built under these standards would save approximately $500 a year on their energy bills verses owners of older buildings. We’ll see less green house gases released from the building sector, and less need for foreign sources of energy.  Our proposal is the Halloween equivalent of bringing home a bag of candy the size of small house.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Halloween without some ghouls.  The Homebuilders Association is against the 30% Solution, and support the status quo rather than any proposal that would increase initial costs, even if it means less long-term costs for consumers.  So in the spirit of Halloween, we’ll have volunteers dress up as an “energy hog,” to educate voters about how much energy our buildings use and how our proposal would start changing that.

Global Green has been working with building code representatives from key states such as California and New York to make sure that code officials at the hearing are educated about the true cost of building “green” and the benefits of increased energy efficiency.  Now it’s your turn to help.  Call or email your Mayor and ask her to send voting delegates to the IECC Final Action hearing, and to vote in favor of the 30% Solution 2012.  It’s going to be tough fight, but we’re ready.  We’ll keep you posted from Charlotte.

Gina Goodhill Rosen