‘Under the radar’ building code process set to force US homes to be green: Report

A building code being crafted by an international organization is being criticized as a “backdoor climate initiative ” that will drive up home prices in the U.S. while forcing homeowners to be green.

“The International Code Council (ICC) — a Washington, D.C.-based group that regularly issues more than a dozen codes regulating new construction and impacting billions of people worldwide — is expected to finalize its 2024 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) early next week. While previous IECCs received little opposition, the 2024 version has been widely criticized for prioritizing climate initiatives over energy efficiency,” Fox News reported.

Housing groups as well as energy and gas industry groups are working to block the energy conservation code and some filed an appeal for a revision to the 2024 IECC.

“They’re incentivizing electrification and discriminating against the natural gas industry by excluding it from being part of the code,” Karen Harbert, the president and CEO of the American Gas Association (AGA), told Fox News Digital. “That really is anticompetitive behavior.”

“If you are about energy efficiency, you should say, ‘We are about energy efficiency however you get there’ — being fuel neutral. But in this case, they are prescribing the way to get there, and it only includes electrification,” Harbert added.

By not involving the AGA, the group contends, the 2024 energy efficiency code was developed with “serious lapses in due process.”

“Among the provisions opposed, the draft IECC, which has been in development for years, requires new one- and two-family dwellings and townhouses to install electrical infrastructure for home electric vehicle chargers. It also mandates that new homes are equipped with the electrical wiring needed for a solar panel system and all-electric appliances,” Fox News reported.

“According to the AGA, those measures and other provisions were largely included in the IECC as part of an omnibus package in September 2022 after rejection through the normal process,” Fox News added.

“The activists that are supporting an all-electrification agenda tried to come in through the policy front door, which was to ban natural gas in cities, and that got overturned in the Ninth Circuit,” Harbert told Fox News Digital. “They tried to ban gas at the state level, and that’s now being challenged. And they have tried to do it through regulation and have been unsuccessful.”

“So, you go to a process that is very much under the radar, very wonky, very technical, but with the same objectives,” she added. “You come in the front door, you come in the side door, now you’re coming in the back door.”

Appeals to the 2024 IECC were filed by the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC), the American Public Gas Association, the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) as well as the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute.

“As long-standing supporters of the ICC codes and standards, we are concerned that this version of the IECC misses the mark,” NMHC’s Paula Cino told Fox News Digital in a statement.

“Without action from the ICC Board to cabin provisions that exceed the bounds of the code, this IECC would threaten housing affordability and weigh renters down with costs for unwanted or unusable technologies,” she added.

“The model building energy code before the International Code Council represents a consensus agreement among builders, building code officials, and energy efficiency advocates,”  said Jennifer Amann, a senior fellow at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. “It will cut energy waste in new homes, lower utility bills for homeowners, and reduce pollution.”

“It will cut energy waste in new homes, lower utility bills for homeowners, and reduce pollution,” she added.

Frieda Powers

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