Judge Rejects Challenge to Updated Building Code

     TACOMA, Wa. (CN) – New state-approved building standards for energy efficiency are not preempted by federal requirements, a federal judge ruled, rejecting a lawsuit from the Building Industry Association of Washington.




     U.S. District Judge Robert J. Bryan dismissed claims that the standards violate the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, finding the rules are not preempted by the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act.
     The Washington State Building Code Council updated its energy code to include “a table of options for builders in order to achieve higher energy efficiency performance,” according to the original complaint. The builders’ trade group argued in a June 2010 complaint that 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.”
     Judge Bryan disagreed Monday in a 23-page ruling, finding the new rules complied with the EPCA general preemption provision. He granted summary judgment to Washington State Building Code Council and intervenors NW Energy Coalition, Sierra Club, Washington Environmental Council and Natural Resources Defense Council.

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