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CIC to Vote on Making NM Building Codes More Energy Efficient

July 30, 2010

ALBUQUERQUE - Today, a state commission is expected to decide whether to make all new buildings in New Mexico more energy-efficient. The Construction Industries Commission is scheduled to vote on amendments to state building codes.

Tammy Fiebelkorn with the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) was on the state code change committee, which developed the proposed amendments over the past year. She says many of the changes will help make buildings tighter, with more insulation and other means to keep heated or cooled air from escaping. There are commonsense measures, too, she adds.

"Requiring that you actually use the right size equipment in new buildings, so that you're not wasting energy with a big unit for a house that doesn't need that big of a unit, things like that."

The changes have met some opposition from a commercial real estate trade association, which says new codes would unnecessarily increase the costs of construction, making the state less attractive to businesses and developers. However, the Rio Grande Sierra Club has mounted a campaign in defense of the codes, arguing that they will save businesses and families far more in energy costs.

Fiebelkorn believes it is the right time to move toward codes that emphasize efficiency — not only for economic reasons, but to address the issue of climate change, which she says could greatly affect the Southwest.

"An easy way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is through energy efficiency. These codes get us to 20 percent better than where we were before, statewide, for all new buildings, and that's a good thing."

The proposed amendments can be viewed at The Construction Industries Commission meeting is at 9:30 a.m. at the Workforce Training Center, 5600 Eagle Rock Ave., N.E., Room 103, Albuquerque.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - NM