The following comes from Utah Clean Energy pertaining to the final outcome of HB 316 in the Utah State Senate this year. Thank you to everyone who contacted their representatives on behalf of this bill. Now it’s time to show builders and home buyers that using HERS software is a viable and great code compliance tool.
Energy Conservation in New Homes
When the energy code roller coaster car came to a stop, the 6th Substitute version of House Bill 316 was passed. We worked hard with the bill sponsor to improve the bill, and while it is far less robust than we would like, it includes some meaningful improvements. We estimate that, as compared to our current energy code, the combination of residential energy code improvements in HB 316 could capture 68% of the energy cost savings found in the full 2015 energy code – though not until the year 2021.
The energy savings in HB316 come from adopting language that requires 75% the lighting installed in new homes to be high efficiency. Additional energy savings will be required in three phases beginning in 2017, 2019, and then 2021. The phased-in energy savings come from minor improvements to the building envelope, air ducts, and whole-home air tightness in new homes. On the downside, this phase-in language still allows homes to be built with a less efficient building envelope when high efficiency heating and/or cooling systems are installed, leaving in the option for builders to construct new homes with poorly insulated exterior walls that are expensive to upgrade. The bill also adopts the new “Energy Rating Index Compliance Alternative” that incorporates a consumer-friendly HERS Rating option into the energy code, which will help improve consumer understanding of energy efficient construction practices.
Unfortunately, the bill still restricts the ability of DAQ to take cost-effective measures to reduce emissions from homes and buildings in the future and sets a bad precedent by incorporating the DAQ water heater rule into the state building code.