NAHB: Congress should encourage home energy efficiency with tax cuts and incentivesMortgagePress.comNational Association of Home Builders, NAHB, Congress, House Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment, American Clean Energy Security Act
The National Association of Home Builders has called on Congress
to ensure that legislation intended to make homes more energy
efficient focuses on measures that provide the greatest
environmental benefit without putting housing affordability at
NAHB Construction, Codes and Standards Committee Chair Dwight
"Sonny" Richardson, a home builder in Tuscaloosa, Ala., made
several recommendations to the House Subcommittee on Energy and the
Environment when he testified at a hearing on the American Clean
Energy Security Act.
First, legislation must be flexible and include not just the
savings achieved from insulated doors, windows and wall cavities,
but also energy-efficient heating and air conditioning systems--or
a combination of insulation and appliance requirements depending on
the home's location or market preference. "Don't modify codes and
standards so that they can't accommodate every state's climate
demands simultaneously or equally," Richardson said.
Second, Congress should "extend, or make permanent" the tax
credits passed earlier this year that incentivize the purchase of
energy-efficient windows, additional insulation and other
improvements in existing homes--where the greatest gains in energy
efficiency are most likely to be realized, he said.
The funding available to encourage home owners to make these
improvements should also be available to home buyers to help them
pay for the additional costs associated with very efficient new
homes, Richardson added.
Finally, "Congress must embrace the broadest possible green
building policy and provide consideration for homes that comply
with standards approved by the American National Standards
Institute (ANSI)," which federal law gives preference over private
guidelines and rating systems, he said.
As an example, Richardson pointed to the ICC-700 National Green
Building Standard for residential construction, remodeling, and
land development. "ANSI recognition of the National Green Building
Standard is important because energy code targets by themselves
cannot accommodate the more robust sustainability framework of
green building, which achieves greater environmental performance as
a whole over energy efficiency alone."
And in all cases, Congress must acknowledge the need for housing
affordability--not just to make it less expensive for consumers to
live in homes with these improvements, but also to avoid pricing
them out all together. "NAHB hopes that Congress will not impose
policies that increase costs for newer, more energy efficient homes
in a manner that relegates lower and moderate-income families to
less-efficient older housing stock," he concluded.
For more information, visit www.nahb.com.