Homebuilders’ commitment to energy-efficient practices

(Regarding June 9 letter to the editor, “Don’t let homebuilders lag on energy-efficiency codes,” from William D. Fay, executive director of the Building Energy Efficient Codes Network.)

In his letter, William Fay misstates the position of the National Association of Home Builders and our efforts to produce more energy-efficient homes.

In fact, NAHB policy calls for a 30 percent increase in energy code requirements by 2012. We work with other stakeholders to enact cost-effective building codes that ensure efficiency goals while preserving regional differences in style, design, geography and climate. There is no “national effort” to subvert the adoption of these codes.

NAHB has been at the forefront of encouraging the construction of energy- and resource-efficient homes through the NAHB National Green Building Program, Energy Star and local programs for many years, and our members have built more than 100,000 certified green homes nationwide.

Greater energy efficiency in housing cannot be achieved through unrealistic legislation that unnecessarily raises housing costs. For every $1,000 increase in the price of a new home, 246,000 households can no longer afford them. Asking these families to shoulder the burden of new requirements that will not pay for themselves within 10 years will force more of them to stay in older, less-efficient homes — and further depress an ailing economy.

New homes are considerably more energy-efficient than homes built decades ago. Homes built between 1991 and 2001 account for only 2.52 percent of total energy consumption. We cannot reduce our nation’s energy use by focusing on such a narrow target.

In addition, more than 48 percent of the energy consumed in a home is the result of laundering, cooking, refrigerating and other use of electronics.

It will take the combined efforts of all Americans to make a significant dent in the amount of energy we use. Builders will continue to do their part as we make new homes more and more efficient and help homeowners make their current homes more sustainable, too.


Duplicative regulations

From Rod Lowman, president, America’s Natural Gas Alliance

(Regarding Congress Blog post, “Protecting drinking water from natural gas fracking,” by Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo.)

Rep. Diana DeGette’s bill regulating the use of fracture stimulation overlooks the practice’s solid environmental record. State regulations have kept public drinking water safe for decades with state regulators studying, analyzing and protecting their individual regions.

In a report released in May, the national Ground Water Protection Council, a group of state oil and gas regulators, said regulatory standards like this would be “costly to the states, duplicative of state regulation, and ultimately ineffective because such regulations would be too far removed from field operations.”

Natural gas is clean, abundant and available to serve as the foundation for power generation and the expansion of renewable energy sources. Duplicative regulations are unnecessary, and would only limit the economic and environmental potential of natural gas.

Reston, Va.