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Building Code Council delays vote on new energy efficiency rules

The House bill would delay updates to the states building code and energy efficiency rules governing things such as roofs, insulation and heating and cooling systems.
David Boraks
The N.C. Building Code Council wants to update energy efficiency rules governing things such as roofs, insulation and heating and cooling systems.

The North Carolina Building Code Council has put off until December a vote on updating energy efficiency rules for new home and office construction.

A spokesman for the state Department of Insurance says staff has not finished a required report on how the proposed changes would affect construction costs. That's expected in time for the council to hold another public hearing at its next quarterly meeting in September. A final vote would happen in December.

The council is considering adopting stricter standards for things like insulation, windows and heating and cooling systems. Home builders say higher construction costs would make houses unaffordable. Supporters argue the changes would save homeowners money as energy costs rise.

Meanwhile, two separate measures backed by the state home builders association could block any updates. One is a council resolution also to be voted on in December that would keep the current rules until 2031. Another is a bill in the legislature that would prevent new energy efficiency rules until 2031.

The legislation has passed the House, but it has been revised in the Senate. It's currently in the Senate Finance Committee, which hasn't scheduled a hearing yet.

That bill also would split the Building Code Council into two committees — commercial and residential. It also would limit the governor's power to appoint the council.

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David Boraks previously covered climate change and the environment for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.