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Sierra Club: NM Mayor Needs to Leave Building Codes Alone

November 1, 2011

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The Sierra Club is concerned about Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry's plans to change the 2009 Energy Conservation Code.

Shrayas Jatkar, the local chapter's organizing director, says the mayor's plan to change to a building code that is not as environmentally friendly would mean confusion for people in the construction industry and a loss of energy efficiency and money for consumers.

"Albuquerque has had a very good building code in place for almost two years. It's a building code that ensures that new homes and new commercial buildings will be built to use less energy. They will be built energy-efficiently."

In addition, Jatkar says, the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) will become the U.S. national standard and will achieve the same level of energy savings as would the Duke City's present code. Jatkar says changing to a new code could mean changing back when the 2012 IECC is put in place.

Lynne Andersen, president of the National Association of Office and Industrial Properties (NAOIP) and a supporter of the mayor's measure, says the state is not required to change to the 2012 IECC code. According to the Department of Energy, however, there is a funding incentive tied to updating to the new code.

The NAOIP has the support of Berry and at least two city councilors in its efforts to change the popular code. Andersen says there are a number of reasons to make the change, not the least of which is cost.

"For a 25,000-square-foot warehouse or factory, it would cost $91,000 more to build on the current Albuquerque code than the '09 Energy Conservation Code."

The Sierra Club says the 2012 IECC could be an economic boon to central New Mexico, if Albuquerque chooses to focus on becoming a manufacturing hub by producing green building materials and creating jobs.

Beth Blakeman, Public News Service - NM