Take Action to Prevent the Federal Government from Hijacking Building Codes

Filed in Advocacy, Codes and Standards, Housing Affordability by on February 28, 2020 7 Comments

act nowPost was updated on March 2.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Ranking Member Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) this week introduced a comprehensive energy bill, the American Energy Innovation Act of 2020. However, there are efforts underway to incorporate costly energy building code provisions from S. 2137, The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, as an amendment to this bill.

This amendment, sponsored by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), would expand the role of the Department of Energy in the code development process by requiring it to establish energy-savings targets, which denies the code consensus bodies freedom in decision-making.

This represents an unprecedented power grab by the federal government in the building code development arena.

These aggressive energy efficiency requirements would also drive up the cost of housing without proportional savings in energy costs. This comes at a time when housing affordability is near a 10-year low and just six in 10 households can afford a median-priced home.

Congress must consider the true economic costs of energy-use reductions and establish a practical payback period for these investments. Otherwise, fewer families will achieve the dream of owning a home of their own.

Please call or write your U.S. senators and urge them to oppose energy building codes in the comprehensive energy bill. Click on the box below to send a letter to your senators today.


Comments (7)

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  1. Peter Feinmann says:

    Fires burning in Australia, melting polar caps; warm winters in the East!!

    When does this industry stop looking at short term profits and start looking at the long term effects of our work on climate change. It is my understanding that 97%% of the world’s Climate scientists believe climate change is due to human behavior. Even if one does not believe these scientists, wouldn’t we be better off to lessen our impact on our climate?

    So let’s work as an industry and support legislation that minimizes the consumption of fossil fuels and minimize the risks of our industry’s impact on the environment. Let’s think about the world we leave our children and our grandchildren and think less about today’s profits. Strong energy legislation puts us in front of the fight instead of fighting the necessary changes that would minimize climate change.

    • Ron Jones says:


      I am in 100% agreement with you and I am absolutely astonished that your comment was posted. It is high time this industry moves into the 21st century, takes responsibility for its environmental impacts, and becomes part of the solution rather than endlessly battling to preserve the status quo.

      • James B Larsen says:

        Ron & Peter,

        I would be in favor of change if it meant real change. However, in the name of controlling climate change, cities are banning natural gas appliances in new construction. This kind of ludicrous thinking on the part of bureaucrats makes the concept of the federal government taking more control with similar thinking a nightmare.

        The industry is making changes, if you don’t think we’ve stepped into the 21st century, you need to look at the industry a little closer. The whole system cannot be changed overnight, it is always progressing. The environmental regulations currently in place have provided for much cleaner air and water, and they continue to advance. But to make a power grab and muck up the system with making large changes right away is only going to be a mess. I applaud your compassion for the environment, I also have it. But don’t think we’re going to make sweeping legislation changes that are going to have an instant effect. This only makes it harder to achieve progress.

  2. Shirley Wiseman says:

    Senators Paul and McConnell,
    Please do NOT tighten the reign of the Federal Government further.
    We, in the building industry, oppose deeper and stronger regulations that strangle the Housing Market

    Thank you,

    Shirley Wiseman
    President NAHB 1989

  3. CharlieK says:

    Full throttle forward or cautious and purposeful. Tightening energy specs for housing will indeed make homes more expensive putting the American Dream out of reach for millions of people. There are thousands of other areas (vehicles as just one example) where conservation could have a greater impact and NOT change people’s way of life. The environmental cleanup industry is an example where good progress in the 1990’s pretty much came to a halt as tighter regulatory criteria was introduced. Where developers would spend for a modest cleanup now what’s required is out of the question. That creep of code control can set housing back decades. Ask yourself how may massive SUV’s or pickup’s promoted based on more horses than at the Kentucky Derby passed you on the highway and you’ll realize triple glazing or dysfunction HVAC in housing is the wrong option.

  4. Bill Hourigan says:

    Leave building codes to individual counties. Federal government should stay out of this or housing costs will become too high and the cost of home ownership unattainable for many americans..

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