Final Clean Power Plan Includes NAHB-Backed Changes

Filed in Codes and Standards, Environment by on August 28, 2015 0 Comments

electric meterKey changes championed by NAHB on behalf of our members are included in new regulations released Aug. 3 by President Obama and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy that are aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the utility sector.

This package includes the final Clean Power Plan, which establishes provisions to control power plant emissions. EPA has established targets for each state, and states must now develop an implementation plan to meet the EPA-established emission reduction goals that are consistent with guidelines included in the new rule.

NAHB raised concerns during the public comment process that focused on the agency’s limited authority under the Clean Air Act, as well as the proposal’s detrimental impact on voluntary energy-efficiency programs, energy-related building codes, and ultimately housing affordability.

Importantly, EPA’s final rule is substantially different from what it originally proposed.

Of significant note to home builders: EPA made several key changes to how programs that target consumer energy usage but affect home construction are treated. The most noteworthy revisions:

  • EPA removed energy efficiency from the calculations used to determine greenhouse gas emission reduction potential and state emission reduction performance goals. This move acknowledges that the proposed rule exceeded EPA’s authority and will allow states to maintain their existing energy-efficiency programs.
  • EPA altered the guidelines that states must follow when developing their emissions reduction plans, effectively removing any chance that demand-side energy-efficiency programs – such or purchasing incentives for certain appliances or peak pricing — or energy-related building codes will be a part of the mandatory federally enforceable state plan. This ensures that EPA will not be able to enforce energy-efficiency measures it has no experience with or authority to implement.

While energy efficiency remains a compliance option for states and power plants to meet their emission goals, the final rule significantly limits the rule’s potential impact on the residential construction industry. As a result of these changes championed by NAHB, states will have less incentive to further ratchet up energy-related building codes or impose other onerous requirements on builders.

NAHB staff continues to evaluate all of the changes EPA has incorporated into the final regulation in order to assess potential impacts the final rule will have on the residential construction industry moving forward.

For additional information on the Clean Power Plan, contact Tamra Spielvogel at 800-368-5242 x8327.

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