U.S. Conference of Mayors Calls for Dramatic Improvements in Energy Efficiency of Buildings

Austin, Dallas and Arlington Mayors Leaders of Effort

This week, the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) unanimously voted for a resolution endorsing a 30% increase in the energy efficiency of new residential buildings and calling for a dramatic improvement of the model energy building codes that guide local and state building codes. 

“The nation’s mayors deserve tremendous credit for supporting this vital step towards reducing avoiding global warming pollution and setting America on a new path to a cleaner, smarter energy future,” said Luke Metzger, Environment Texas Director.   

Because homes constructed today will last decades, adopting what proponents call the “30% Solution” could save 8 QBtus of energy, reduce CO2 pollution by 464 MMT, and save $88 billion in energy costs by 2030.  This is the equivalent of taking almost 4.5 million cars permanently off the road, or eliminating the energy use of over 2.2 million households.

In September, local and state code officials from towns and cities across the country will come together to finalize the  2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) – the national model code that most government use as the basis for their building codes. 

“This is one of the most important energy votes of the year,” said Metzger.  “Mayors who send their officials to vote for the 30% Solution won’t just be saving their citizens money, they’ll be helping the entire country start on a path towards reducing our energy waste and global warming emissions.”

The “30 Percent Solution” was developed by a broad coalition of regional energy efficiency networks, environmental groups, utilities and businesses, in response to calls for an improved energy code from bodies such as the Western Governors Association, US Department of Energy, National Petroleum Council, American Institute of Architects, and Mayors for Climate Protection.

Making full use of building energy codes is the first step necessary to move our country forward, past the old, inefficient and wasteful, and put ourselves on track to make all new buildings zero-energy by 2030.  By ramping up the efficiency the code requires and giving the code enforcement offices the support they need, we can set a strong minimum standard for energy efficiency in buildings.  This will save huge amounts of energy, significantly reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, lowering energy costs for homeowners and businesses, creating jobs that cannot be outsourced, and increasing America’s energy independence.

The mayors voting for this resolution are sending a strong message to the building code officials in their employ who will be voting in September, that they are counting on them to deliver a strong model residential energy code for their cities, and the country.  Led by Mayor Wynn of Austin, TX, the resolution had 30 cosponsors, including the mayors of Dallas, Arlington, Boston, New York, Miami, San Francisco, Portland, Atlanta, and Denver.