RICHMOND, VA- A number of environmental groups in Virginia have been advocating for years for Virginia to establish an energy saving and environmentally friendly building code that would make a substantial reduction in carbon emissions in the commonwealth. Carbon emissions from buildings (commercial and residential) are the largest energy use in the United States. Studies by environmental groups and universities in Virginia have indicated that energy savings from the Earthcraft building program can be as great as 40 percent, and save tenants and or homeowners many thousands of dollars of utility costs over time.
A new environmentally friendly building code would result in a substantial cost savings for homeowners, tenants, and commercial property owners while substantially reducing carbon based electricity and heating costs. The consumer benefits are substantial and accrue particularly to low income persons, cutting their housing costs and allowing them a better standard of living.
Our Green Party of Virginia goal is to get Virginia Board of Housing and Community Development (BHCD) to adopt the full 2015 International Environmental Conservation Code that many other states have already adopted (such as Maryland, the District of Columbia and Georgia). The BHCD held a hearing in May 2017 to consider the benefits of this code, but the Virginia Building Industry opposes this because it would raise the cost of new construction. Environmental engineers contend that over the life cycle of the building, energy cost savings would benefit the owner and the tenant far more than a modest increase to the initial cost of new construction. Primary elements of the 2015 IECC include a blower door test to scientifically measure air flow into and out of the new building (the more air flow generally the higher the cost of heating and cooling), a duct leakage test, higher R values in wall and roof insulation, and other smart building techniques.
The Green party of Virginia urges its members, and all concerned citizens to contact their local BHCD representatives, urging them for passage. Contact us at Info@greensofarlington.org for more info or to find out who your rep is. Please note that there is a sense of urgency as the BHCD meeting is scheduled for Sept 15.