Environment Picture
Topic: Energy Efficiency

Modern residential energy codes approved by courts; ratepayers, environment are winners

MEC, allies win legal battle against Home Builders

A long-awaited state energy code requiring home builders to use modern energy efficiency measures is in effect after a judge dismissed legal efforts to block the money-saving measures.

The Oct. 22 Ingham County Circuit Court ruling capped a four-year battle to have the modern code implemented by the State of Michigan. It was blocked by a lawsuit filed by the Michigan Association of Home Builders. The suit wound its way from the local courts to the Michigan Supreme Court before being thrown out.

The Michigan Environmental Council and two other groups – the Michigan Community Action Agency Association (MCAAA) and Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) – intervened on the side of the state to protect the public’s interest in the case. In supporting the code’s original adoption, the coalition commissioned a study by the Department of Energy to document the savings and payback period and provided written and verbal testimony.

The four-year delay in implementing up-to-date rules means Michigan residents lost years of potential energy savings totaling tens-of-millions of dollars and contributed to releases of tons of environmental pollutants.

The new energy code provides Michigan consumers better protection against rising energy costs through the inclusion of up-to-date efficiencies in new home construction.

“These long-awaited rules help cut air pollution and global warming gas emissions, and also save homeowners cold, hard cash through lower heating and cooling bills,” said Hugh McDiarmid Jr., Michigan Environmental Council communications director.

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