SNOHOMISH WASHINGTON NEWSPAPER Sunday, August 2, 2015   
Snohomish Times News
Home | Business News | County News | Entertainment | Local News | Photo Gallery | Prep Sports | Roads Traffic News | Snohomish News Archive | Shop Snohomish

Cost to Consumers, Business Key to Delay of New Energy Regulations

http://www.shoreline.edu/
Published:2010-07-24 State
Cost to Consumers, Business Key to Delay of New Energy Regulations    Print Snohomish Times    
Cost to Consumers, Business Key to Delay of New Energy Regulations

By Brandon Houskeeper

For the moment, homeowners and prospective home buyers appear to have dodged major cost increases from new energy code regulations being imposed by the state Building Code Council, which is responsible for establishing minimum building standards in our state.

The new regulations, which were scheduled to take effect July 1, are part of the state's climate action agenda. Last year Gov. Chris Gregoire directed the building council to amend the energy code to improve energy efficiency by as much as 30 percent.

In an eleventh-hour plea, however, the governor asked the council to delay implementation of the new regulations. Why? The governor is now worried about the financial impact these rules will have on the economy and the added costs they would create for current and future homeowners.

In her June 8 letter to the building council, Gregoire says "it is clear that the recovery of the construction industry is central to the recovery of our states economy. While construction numbers are starting to level off & there are serious questions regarding whether conditions will get better or worse."

The governor is not alone in her concern. A review by the Joint Administrative Rules Review Committee (JARRC), a bipartisan panel of state lawmakers, found the building council's cost-benefit analysis was unreliable and did not meet statutory requirements.

In late 2009, prior to the adoption of the energy code updates, the JARRC wrote that the economic analysis "failed to comply with all requirements of law" and asked the council to provide more detail, including an estimate of the number of jobs that would be created or lost. The building council simply ignored these objections and moved forward to adopt the rules without any additional analysis.

The governor's request to delay implementation draws much-needed attention to the economic impact of these types of regulations. The council estimated that compliance with the regulations would add about $1 per square foot to new construction, so the buyer of a new 2,200-square-foot home would pay an additional $2,200, a number that construction experts say is much too low. In addition, the new regulations extend beyond new construction, adding additional costs for current homeowners.

For example, the rules require that existing home heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems meet stringent efficiency standards. If a homeowner's HVAC system is altered or replaced, a licensed contractor must conduct a costly duct test to ensure that the system meets the new standards. A trained professional must seal leaks in the system to enhance its overall efficiency. In some cases, this might require intrusive testing that includes providing full access to a residence while filling the home's system with smoke to detect leaks.

Experts say that there is no way to know what steps will be required, or how much it will cost, until they are on site. Such unknowns will certainly lead to higher costs for homeowners, and will act as a strong deterrent to taking even small steps to improve energy efficiency.

Due to the high costs of the regulations, some contractors already report they are planning layoffs due to a decline in demand for energy efficiency projects. Homeowners faced with an all-or-nothing choice between high costs to fix everything or continuing to live with an outdated system will likely choose the latter, costing jobs in the hard-hit construction sector.

Based on the questions raised by the JARRC, the governor is right to ask for the delay in implementing these costly new regulations. Hopefully the Building Code Council will use the delay - which will last until Oct. 29, with possible extension to April 1, 2011 - to re-evaluate the cost-benefit analysis and better understand how these regulations will impact homeowners. The council plans to hold hearings on the implementation date on Sept. 10 and 24.




Published: Saturday, August 01, 2015
Initiative Measure No. 1366 Initiative Measure No. 1366
Initiative 1366, the "Taxpayer Protection Act," has qualified for the November ballot.


Published: Saturday, August 01, 2015
Solar Energy Generation Tops Five Megawatts Solar Energy Generation Tops Five Megawatts
The bulk of the small-scale solar energy production comes from customers participating in the PUD’s Solar Express program


Published: Saturday, August 01, 2015
Ian McFeron live Ian McFeron live
Ian McFeron releases his eighth studio album Radio, produced by Grammy-nominated producer Doug Lancio (John Hiatt, Patty Griffin), and recorded at Studio G! in East Nashville, TN.


Published: Friday, July 31, 2015
Condition of state’s short line railroads Condition of state’s short line railroads
Many of the state’s 29 short line railroads are local and serve farmers in agricultural and timber-growing communities by hauling their products to larger railroads.


Published: Thursday, July 02, 2015
Who Will Be America's Next President? Who Will Be America's Next President?
Most Americans cannot tell you how many Republicans are running for President. If they are like me at this point, they don't care.


Advertisement

Criminal Justice

Player of the Game
Wyatt Miller - Player of the Game

Wyatt Miller #7

Glacier Peak
Soccer F
For his contribution to Glacier Peak's round one win at state.

Area Newsletters - Author, Date and Title
2014-10-05 | 14 New Crimes
2014-10-04 | 11 New Crimes
2014-10-01 | 6 New Crimes
2014-09-30 | 9 New Crimes
2014-09-29 | 9 New Crimes
2014-09-27 | 11 New Crimes
2014-09-14 | 10 New Crimes
2014-09-10 | 15 New Crimes
2014-09-02 | 11 New Crimes
2014-08-27 | 11 New Crimes
2014-08-22 | 10 New Crimes
2014-08-20 | 10 New Crimes
2014-08-17 | 13 New Crimes
2014-08-13 | 12 New Crime
2014-08-05 | 10 New Crimes
2014-08-01 | 10 New Crimes
2014-07-29 | 11 New Crimes
2014-07-18 | 11 New Crimes
2014-07-11 | 12 New Crime
2014-07-09 | 16 New Crimes

 

 


SNOHOMISH contact