Emission, energy reduction at heart of proposed building code

Friday, August 15, 2008

From an article by Anita Weier in The Capital Times:

The Sierra Club and the U.S. Conference of Mayors are supporting a revision of building codes for new homes that supporters say would boost energy efficiency by 30 percent -- to cut emissions of greenhouse gases and reduce utility bills.

The proposed changes will be considered by the International Code Council in Minneapolis in September, when building inspectors and code officials meet to revise the model building code that many state and local jurisdictions use to develop their own regulations.

The International Energy Conservation Code is updated every three years, and the newest version will be published in 2009.

The "30% Solution" developed by the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition is a package of proposals that the coalition says uses proven, readily available technologies such as efficient lighting, insulation, building air tightness and efficient heating and air conditioning equipment to slash energy use.

"Homes are around for a long time. If the whole state of Wisconsin opts into a revised code, substantial energy could be saved and carbon dioxide emissions reduced, using technology that is already out there," said Shahla Werner, director of the Sierra Club's statewide John Muir Chapter, which is encouraging Wisconsin cities to send delegates to the council meeting.

The Sierra Club contends that by 2030, the 30 percent solution would save $88 billion in energy costs while reducing heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions by 464 million metric tons.