Week of September 19, 2005
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Energy Code Rollback Campaign Down to the Wire

Only about two weeks remain before code officials at the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) final hearings in Detroit vote on a proposal by NAHB to roll back increased wall insulation requirements for wood-framed construction.

Contact Code Officials to Rollback Costly Energy Code

In the final stages of its nationwide campaign for the rollback, NAHB is urging all of its members to contact the code officials who attended recent ICC code hearings or conferences and are likely to vote on the rollback proposal, EC16-04/05, next month.

Around the country, representatives of local and state home builders associations who have been meeting with code officials to educate them and answer questions about this issue are finding an extremely receptive response.

NAHB members can click here for resources that will enable them to participate in the current rollback campaign. Materials include detailed background information, a sample letter to send to code officials and state-by-state lists of more than 1,100 of the officials who are likely to be voting on this issue in September.

While significant progress has been reported in NAHB’s grassroots effort to educate code officials about the unnecessary toll the expensive insulation requirements would impose on the affordability of housing, mustering the two-thirds majority of code officials needed to topple the so-called reform remains an uphill battle, according to association leaders.

Energy Code Change Could Increase Housing Costs

The Department of Energy agrees with NAHB that the increased wall insulation requirements are not cost-effective and would fail to provide significant energy savings for home owners. The department found that going from R-13 to high-density fiberglass R-15 insulation to meet the increased requirements could add $600-$1,000 to the price of a typical 2,000-square-foot home, but would yield only $15 a year in energy savings. The vast majority of home owners would never be able to recoup the cost of the higher insulation.

Further, if builders move from 2x4 to 2x6 studs to meet the higher wall insulation required by the code, the added cost would jump to $2,000-$4,000 for a typically sized home.

“This is a bad change for consumers because it will drive up the cost of housing,” said NAHB President David Wilson. “For every $1,000 increase in the cost of a new home, more than 240,000 potential home owners are priced out of the marketplace.”

Wilson added that the nation’s home builders support building codes that promote energy efficiency, “but home buyers should not bear the burden of expensive new requirements that provide negligible benefits.”

In its rollback drive, NAHB has been joined by the sprayed-foam and cellulose insulation manufacturers, APA (The Engineered Wood Association) and the glass-block industry. Many types of insulation would effectively be excluded from the marketplace because builders using them would not be able to meet the new ratings with standard 2x4 wall construction.

For more information, e-mail John Loyer at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8303.

Learn What Code Inspectors Look For

Common Code Violations and How to Fix Them,” available through BuilderBooks.com, points out common code violations and the corresponding construction standards you need to correct them. To view or purchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.

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