Clean Power Plan Would Mean More Overreach, Says NAHB

Filed in Codes and Regulations, Construction Industry by on December 8, 2014 0 Comments

power linesNAHB has submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in response to the proposed Clean Power Plan rule.

Critical to the home building industry is EPA’s inclusion of consumer energy efficiency and demand-side management – including ever-tightening energy code requirements – in calculating state goals and as part of required state plans to reduce future greenhouse gas emissions. The agency reasoned that by reducing demand, power plants would emit less greenhouse gas.

But as NAHB said in its comments Dec. 1, the agency’s approach is faulty: Stricter energy codes would affect only new construction and EPA has no authority over building codes.

In addition, EPA – and other state and federal agencies, for that matter – cannot control how much electrical power a home owner decides to use once the building is occupied.

The rule would establish specific state goals for the reduction of power plant greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, and provide guidelines for states to meet those goals.

As drafted, the Clean Power Plan extends far beyond the reach of previous regulatory action that targeted emission reductions from the power sector.

NAHB urged EPA to remove demand-side energy efficiency measures as a component of the proposed regulation and instead treat them as complementary measures or programs.

In addition, NAHB opposes the use of building energy codes to achieve compliance with the proposed regulation especially if it makes these codes federally enforceable. As drafted, should any state choose to rely on demand-side energy-efficiency programs, including energy codes, to achieve emissions reductions in their state plan, EPA could enforce those requirements within the state.

As NAHBNow reported in September, EPA extended the comment period after requests from states, senators and other stakeholders. Despite receiving over 1.2 million comments, EPA still plans to finalize the rule by June 2015.

NAHB would normally expect states to begin development of their implementation plans following issuance of a final rule. However, the unprecedented scope of this proposed rule has led many states to already begin the planning process.

 

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