NAHB Urges Congress to Back Green Building Initiatives

Washington, DC — The National Association of Home Builders has told Congress that it wants to work as a partner with officials at all levels of government to encourage energy efficiency, as long as housing affordability is not jeopardized in the process.

Testifying on behalf of the NAHB before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy, Arn McIntyre, a green builder from Grand Rapids, MI, urged Congress to promote voluntary, market-driven and viable green building initiatives.

“These programs lower total ownership costs through utility savings, as well as provide the flexibility that builders need to construct homes that are cost-effective, affordable and appropriate to a geographic location,” McIntyre said.

New-home construction is far more energy efficient than existing construction because of better insulation, energy-efficient appliances and HVAC equipment, as well as other improvements stemming from compliance to more modern and stringent building codes, according to the NAHB. Because of this, McIntyre said it would make “no sense to apply even more costly and rigorous energy conservation requirements to new homes.

“Targeting new homes would harm housing affordability and encourage people to remain in older, less energy-efficient homes,” he said, adding that “this would result in higher energy usage, higher greenhouse gas emissions and lower standards of living.

“Improving the energy efficiency of the 130 million homes built before 2010 that are much less energy efficient than today’s new homes is a much more effective approach to reduce carbon emissions and achieve energy savings,” McIntyre said.

Government incentives, he observed, “play an important role” in providing homeowners with a cost-effective way to invest in energy efficiency. Federal mandates, he added, “would have a negative impact on housing affordability and will prevent healthy competition in the marketplace.”

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