A key aspect of energy efficiency policy is at risk of suffering a major setback due to actions in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The House Energy & Commerce Committee is developing a comprehensive energy bill with energy efficiency – rightly so – included as one of the central pillars. However, certain provisions in the “Discussion Draft” of this title would have a profoundly negative impact on energy efficiency, specifically those that would inhibit the process of establishing building energy codes.

Why is this important? Building energy codes are an important tool for advancing energy efficiency in the sector of our economy that consumes more energy than any other activity: residential and commercial buildings represent more than 40% of the total energy consumed in the United States, and 73% of the electricity.

The provisions in the Discussion Draft would impact building codes in two ways. First, it would severely limit the role of the Department of Energy (DOE) in the code development process. Second, if a proposed code is estimated to have a simple payback of more than 10 years, DOE would be barred from providing any assistance of any kind. These limitations would be devastating, as the annual impact of DOE’s assistance in the codes process is $780 million in avoided energy costs.

Fortunately there is an alternative! Legislation introduced by Congressmen McKinley (R-W.V.) and Welch (D-Vt.) contains a building code section that enjoys the public support of businesses and organizations across the county and represents a fully-vetted and carefully negotiated consensus agreement derived from years of negotiations.

Click here to urge your Congressman to support building energy codes and energy efficiency by advocating for a substitution of the building code provisions in the Discussion Draft for those in the McKinley-Welch bill.