The Idaho House has endorsed a controversial change on building codes with HB 547. This bill forbids local communities from adopting up-to-date building energy codes. The Idaho Energy Code is based on a nine-year-old national code.
This is a bad idea on many levels. It robs cities and counties of the ability to craft rules and regulations to fit their specific circumstances. Does Riggins need the same level of energy efficiency as Rigby?
The state has already downgraded the energy code for homes to the requirements of the 2009 code. This costs Idaho homeowners hundreds of dollars a year in excessive energy costs. Analysis shows the cost effectiveness of the newer 2015 code versus the older code in Idaho and concluded the change would have a first-year energy cost savings of $255 for a typical new house and a simple payback of 4.4 years and positive cash flow the very first year of home ownership.
The Idaho Legislature should adopt up-to-date minimum energy codes for homes and businesses that will help all Idahoans reduce their energy use and save money. It should also allow local communities to decide what codes make sense for their citizens and circumstances.
Steven Benner, Boise