This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Last week the U.S. Department of Energy held its Energy Codes 2011 conference in Salt Lake City. It included education regarding the construction of energy-efficient homes and businesses.
One discussion centered on the differences between the 2009 and 2012 recommended energy codes. Adopting the new codes would help cut occupants' utility bills and help America become more energy independent. Utah has not adopted even the 2009 energy codes for home construction.
In a state with astronomical foreclosure rates, the powerful home-builders lobby has the ear of the Legislature, which deems it more important to get people into homes they cannot afford than helping homeowners afford the homes they get into.
According to a study for the Utah State Energy Program, it costs an additional $1,500 to construct a house that conforms to the 2009 energy codes. Yet, ignoring that study, in a KSL interview Rep. Mike Morley, R-Spanish Fork, quoted paid lobbyists who estimated a cost of $2,500 to $8,000. Regardless, in the long run, better energy codes save occupants money, and given the 5 percent increase in Rocky Mountain Power rates, the savings will cover the construction costs even sooner.
Not adopting better energy codes affects us all.