December 8, 2010
Ads Target Homebuilders Association over Energy “Surrender”
NC WARN challenges governor, regulators over efficiency upgrades in new homes
Durham, NC – An energy-climate watchdog group is placing ads in North Carolina newspapers calling for Governor Perdue to rein in a state panel that recently reversed its position on energy efficiency improvements for new homes and businesses. The group says the NC Building Code Council capitulated to pressure by the NC Homebuilders Association, which will cost homeowners higher power bills while squandering state efforts to help curb global climate change.
A planned 30% upgrade in efficiency requirements drew millions in federal energy dollars to the state and had for months moved through the building code council toward final adoption. But just prior to a September vote, the HBA and its allies derailed the plan, according to council members and news reports. The council will address the measure again on December 14th.
“The HBA seems more interested in moving houses and doesn’t care that they’re saddling homebuyers with high energy costs every month for years to come,” said Mark Marcoplos today. He’s both a green builder and NC WARN board member. “They seem clueless about the market moving toward low cost, common sense energy improvements as the building standard.”
The NC WARN ads, paid for through member donations to the Durham-based nonprofit, call for North Carolinians to press Governor Perdue for replacement of council members who serve the HBA instead of the public economic and health interests – and to urge council chairman Dan Tingen to pass the 30% improvement.
NC WARN said the HBA’s excuse for opposing the code change – higher initial cost for homes – is based on grossly exaggerated estimates for the simple efficiency measures. Building specialists from Appalachian State University and green builders insist that the marginal addition to a new mortgage would be more than offset – starting on day one – by energy savings.
The ASU team calculates the changes for a 2500 square foot home would increase the monthly mortgage payment by about $8.50, but save an average $35 per month in energy bills. (See the study here – these numbers come from the table on page 10.)
NC WARN director Jim Warren said today, “The best interests of North Carolina again are threatened by Big Business’s control over various facets of state government. With prospects for long-term economic distress – and damage already being caused by accelerating climate change – the 30% upgrade is the right thing at the right time for this state.”