When Will They Ever Learn?

first_imgOnce again, the obstructionists are hard at work. According to a recent article in The Hill, a nonpartisan, nonideological daily paper for and about Congress, climate and energy bills currently clawing their way through Congress are meeting stiff resistance from several industry groups, including the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), and the National Association of Realtors (NAR). In basic terms, the bill would require new homes to be 30% more energy efficient by 2010, and 50% by 2014. In letters to representatives, the various trade groups claim the bill “makes faulty or unproven economic and technical assumptions about the viability of achieving certain energy-efficiency targets for buildings and homes.”What planet do they live on?According to the article in The Hill, “The trade groups say they support efforts to improve the energy efficiency of homes and businesses but that the codes are better left to local and state officials to set and enforce. Those codes have already been updated. One lobbyist involved in the effort said finding additional energy savings will be difficult.”The fact that NAHB, which is madly promoting the new National Green Building Standard and its practical and affordable methods, can claim that “additional energy savings will be difficult” is hard to swallow. I wish that the organization would deliver a more coordinated public message.Are we looking at the next GM and Chrysler?Anecdotal evidence suggests that many builders and remodelers who are well established in the green-building sector are doing better than contractors who are building in traditional ways. Consumer demand is there, the cost of creating more efficient buildings is minimal, and the benefits for all concerned are well documented. These industry groups digging in and fighting against energy efficiency is alarmingly similar to US auto companies spending decades fighting fuel-efficiency standards—and look where that’s gotten them!I feel that the factions at NAHB and NAR that are fighting increased energy efficiency standards should reconsider those positions, particularly while others at those same organizations are working hard to support more sustainable construction through programs such as the National Green Building Standard. My hope is that we can stop fighting, come to a level of agreement, and allow everyone to benefit from better home construction and renovation.last_img