July 18, 2009

NY Times Article on Building Codes

According to an article in the NY Times, climate scientists and architects say that no single policy change could do more to save energy over the long run — and reduce the nation's contribution to global warming — than building codes that make saving energy the law.

The article also talks about the importance of having an energy inspector...

AUSTIN, Tex. — Peering behind a bathtub in a newly built house, an inspector, John Umphress, spotted a big gap in the wall insulation. "Somebody took a lunch break!" he complained to the builder, who sheepishly agreed to patch the hole.

With the fix, the house, already a model of energy efficiency, will use even less energy and save its residents money — for decades.

But that small catch would not have been made in many American towns. Mr. Umphress is a particular kind of inspector, an energy auditor, and Austin, with one of the toughest building codes in the country, requires an energy inspection before a building can be occupied.

California reports that it has reduced energy consumption in new houses and commercial buildings by 75 percent over the three decades that codes have been in effect there. Likewise, a new home built today in Florida, a state that also has a strong energy code, is nearly 70 percent more energy-efficient than a home of the same size built when codes were first enacted in 1979, according to the Florida Solar Energy Center, a state-supported research institute.

"A national building code is the key for getting our greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption under control," said Ed Mazria, executive director of Architecture 2030, an organization that researches building efficiency. "As you begin to level off emissions from buildings, you can begin to phase out coal plants as they age."
Post a Comment