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PNS Daily News - October 23, 2020 

President Trump and Joe Biden square off in their final debate; warnings that "dark days" of the pandemic are yet to come; and food assistance now available for some wildfire victims.

2020Talks - October 23, 2020 

The second and last presidential debate was much more controlled than the first; President Trump keeping to his main themes, calmly rebutted by Biden.

Minnesota Meeting to Set National Building Standards

September 22, 2008

Minneapolis, MN – More than 1,000 building code planners, regulators and enforcement professionals have spent the last week in Minnesota, in a series of meetings to update the nation's construction standards. The weeklong gathering will establish recommended health and safety codes for new homes and other buildings.

One proposal being considered would increase home energy efficiency guidelines. Attorney Alex Levinson, legal director for the Sierra Club, says it would be good for the environment, the economy and homeowners.

"We call it the '30 Percent Solution' because it's going to take a raft of measures involving heating, lighting, cooling and ventilation and make them about 30 percent more efficient, meaning they'll use energy 30 percent better."

Levinson believes sufficient technology exists, but the nation has not demanded firmly enough that it be put to use. Proposals approved at the meeting are not federal requirements, but they're considered industry standards, and generally are adopted by cities and states. Levinson is convinced changes should be made to reduce global warming pollution.

"Homes and buildings contribute half of all of the greenhouse gas emissions and consume nearly half of all energy. That's through lighting, heating, cooling, and through lack of insulation; loss of heating and cooling through doors and windows."

The idea has faced opposition from some homebuilders' trade groups, who argue it will raise construction costs and prices to consumers - but in Levinson's view, it will have the opposite effect.

"A house really has two prices: It has the price you pay for it at the beginning; then, it has those extra energy costs you pay every month - month after month, year after year."

The plan has the support of the U.S. Energy Department. It would reduce energy costs by more than $80 billion by 2030, Levinson adds. Learn more about it online, at (a href="">www.thirtypercent The meetings end on Tuesday.

Jim Wishner/Steve Powers, Public News Service - MN