Builders Fight Energy Efficiency Standards

     TACOMA, Wash. (CN) – The politically powerful Building Industry Association of Washington claims the state’s new energy efficiency standards violate federal law and will make homes more expensive. The 11,500-member BIA claims the new rules, which take effect in July, exceed federal energy efficiency standards and could add $4,000 to $15,000 to the price of a new home.

     The Washington State Building Code Council updated the Energy Code to include “a table of options for builders in order to achieve higher energy efficiency performance,” according to the federal complaint.
     The options “effectively mandate that homes have HVAC, plumbing or water heating equipment that meet a higher efficiency standard than those set by the federal government,” the complaint states.
     “Plaintiffs, in reliance on the federal energy efficiency and energy use standards, have valuable investments in inventories of equipment and home designs which comply with federal standards but which do not comply with the recently updated state energy code.
     “The state code will disrupt sales of HVAC products, water heaters and plumbing products intended for use in the state due to confusion of manufacturers, distributors and contractors about which standards they must adhere to,” according to the complaint.
     The BIA, and nine co-plaintiff members, claim the state violated the Supremacy Clause and want the new standards nullified. They are represented by house counsel Timothy Harris of Olympia.

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