VA considers energy-efficiency update to residential building code
Efforts to make energy-efficiency updates to Virginia's residential new construction code are facing pushback from homebuilders who say the changes will raise the cost to build, according to SouthEast Energy News.
A public comment period on proposed changes runs from Feb. 20 to April 21, with a public hearing on May 15. An examination of potential updates occurs every three years, timed with the review cycle of the Department of Energy's model codes. The board of the state's Department of Housing and Community Development will have the final say on any changes.
Virginia ranks No. 33 among U.S. states for energy efficiency, with its code at or above the 2009 version of the International Building Code.
A drive to raise the energy efficiency level of homes continues to build momentum across the U.S. Yet sustainable products and systems can be costly to implement.
A new partnership between the Appraisal Institute and the Residential Energy Services Network would add Home Energy Rating System scores to home appraisals, a change that would help builders and homeowners when they attempt to attain financing for the inclusion of such features in their projects.
The 2015 International Energy Conservation Code includes a compliance path through the HERS Energy Rating Index. Although adoption of this latest version of the code is limited so far, states like California, Massachusetts and Washington are leading the way and more states and municipalities are expected to apply some or all of the 2015 model to their own codes.
Some locales are taking energy efficiency a step further. In Santa Monica, CA, for example, the city council approved an ordinance late last year requiring new homes to be net-zero energy. Meanwhile, nearby Lancaster, CA, last month added a power-generation requirement to its mandatory solar panel rule for new home construction.
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