A few minutes ago, I posted a Press Release on changes to the 2015 Energy Codes. If you read the list of groups supporting this change, you will find me listed.
Energy Codes have been in existence since 1992. They require levels of insulation, other energy efficient features and address how these items are installed. There have been adjustments to them over the years. As the cost of electricity and other forms of energy rise, increasing the levels of insulation makes financial sense. As companies develop new products, for example the green sheathing used on many new homes in the Wichita area.
Wichita / Sedgwick County have not chosen to adopt an Energy Code. There is no legal requirement to build a home or building in Wichita and install insulation.
I support this change in the enforcement of codes because it is a ‘Free Market’ approach to the problem.
When people hear a home can be legally built with no insulation, they are very surprised. Their expectation is that government requires that. When my daughter was looking at buying a home in 2007-08; I heard one builder’s sales person tell her: “We build Energy Efficient Homes! We used to put R-19 in the attic; now with put R-25! That is Energy Efficient!” Yet, the recommended code at that time for Wichita called for R-38 in the attic.
A ‘Free Market’ has been defined as the price a willing and informed seller and a willing and informed buyer agree upon! I think that is important, to have willing and informed sellers and buyers.
If you don’t have an informed buyer; you can’t have a free market. Consumers want something they value, if they are informed, they can make a decision that meets their needs. It may be a different decision than you would make with the same information.
This proposal would allow a builder to choose to add extra insulation to a home or to install more efficient equipment to his home as they choose to meet or exceed the competition.
This proposal allows a local government to require a level of energy performance from new homes. It allows the builder to decide how he wants to achieve that level. It doesn’t not require the local government to hire any additional inspectors or add training to existing inspectors.
When you look at buying a car, you can look at the Mileage Sticker on the window. You may or may not use that in your final decision. With this in the code, you can look at the sticker on the electrical box. Then you can choose to use it or not use it in your decision.
A few years from now, when a new home is resold, the sticker will be there. Consumers can look at it and make informed decisions again.
Disclosure: Yes, part of our business is to Rate Homes for Energy Efficiency! This proposal if adopted by local governments could increase business. It would also spur competition. It would not stop a home builder from training one of his employees to Rate his homes. It would not stop an independent group, for example the Builders Association, from training someone and offering Ratings services to their members. It would not stop Energy Related Subcontractors from training an employee and offering Ratings to their customers.
The Press Release with links is found HERE