|Action||Update the Uniform Statewide Building Code|
|Comment Period||Ends 6/26/2020|
Respect the intent and letter of the law on building energy efficiency
Virginia is currently ranked (by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy) as 29th, in the bottom half of US states. Energy efficiency should be the first energy source for buildings, which represent 40% of Virginia's energy use. Virginia has made strides to improve its standing, and Governor Northam recently made a commitment to energy efficiency and clean energy (in Executive Order 43, September 2019).
At the same time, Virginia law requires that the Board of Housing and Community Development to refer to the national standard on energy efficiency (the International Energy Efficiency Conservation Code, or IEECC) in setting standards. The Board should fully embracing the IEECC standards, or go beyond them. Although there are minimal increased upfront costs associated with higher energy efficiency, the payback period is short (often around 5 years) and the savings accrue each year afterwards, saving money and energy for decades to come, since buildings typically last 40-100 years.
Virginians already pay among the highest electricity bills in the country. Inefficient homes mean higher electricity bills. Higher bills hit lower income people and people of color hardest. At this time in our history, is that a statement that we, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, wish to make? I hope not.
I urge the Board to the IEECC standards for Virginia.