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ID Lawmakers Eye Removing Energy Efficiency from Building Codes

Removal of energy efficiency standards such as heating insulation could be approved by a state House committee. (Arpad Nagy-Bagoly/Adobe Stock)
Removal of energy efficiency standards such as heating insulation could be approved by a state House committee. (Arpad Nagy-Bagoly/Adobe Stock)
March 5, 2020

BOISE, Idaho -- Idaho lawmakers are considering removing energy standards from building codes.

But building industry groups say that would be a mistake that could put Idahoans at risk.

Provisions such as heat insulation and water sealing to prevent hazards such as black mold are addressed in energy codes.

Striking these requirements did not pass in a February Senate meeting, but the proposal is being considered again Thursday in the House Business Committee.

Jon Laux, community development director for Twin Falls County and a member of the Idaho Building Code Board, is opposed to this measure.

"It's a common sense component that we insulate a house and make a home and buildings efficient, to use less energy and to operate in a more healthy environment for the people who are in it," he stresses.

Laux says buildings that are more energy efficient also are more affordable.

At the February Senate committee meeting, Twin Falls Republican Sen. Jim Patrick suggested removing standards because energy efficiency is not a building safety issue and that it's not appropriate for the government to mandate these standards.

The American Institute of Architects Idaho chapter sent a letter to House Business Committee members asking them not to remove energy standards from building codes, saying it would expose people to temperature extremes and could lead to energy shortages as the state's population grows.

Andrew Bick, an architect and chairman of the Idaho Building Code Board, says lawmakers will be going against the wishes of the building industry if they do not adopt the revised version of the 2018 building codes.

"It's the first time in the 12 years I've been on the building code board where all parties that are a part of the board were in complete agreement that these 2018 codes made sense to adopt," he states.

The latest energy code standards have the support of groups such as the Division of Building Safety, Idaho Associated General Contractors and National Association of Remodelers of Idaho. It also has support from conservation groups, which see these codes as a way for the building sector to cut down on its carbon footprint.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID