The bill would give the federal government power over local building codes. It requires that by 2012 codes must require that new buildings be 30 percent more efficient than they would have been under current regulations. By 2016, that figure rises to 50 percent, with increases scheduled for years after that. With those targets in mind, the bill expects organizations that develop model codes for states and localities to fill in the details, creating a national code. If they don't, the bill commands the Energy Department to draft a national code itself.Brought to you by the same lefty busybodies who decided how much water we could use to flush our toilets, and soon won't let you buy incandescent light bulbs.
States, meanwhile, would have to adopt the national code or one that achieves the same efficiency targets. Those that refuse will see their codes overwritten automatically, and they will be docked federal funds and carbon "allowances" -- valuable securities created elsewhere in the bill that give the holder the right to pollute and can be sold. The Energy Department also could enforce its code itself. Among other things, the policy would demonstrate the new leverage of allocation of allowances as a sort of carbon currency -- leverage this bill would be giving to Congress to direct state behavior.
Back in the 80's and even into the 90's, these very same folks were pounding the "fear-on-the-Right" drums about "the government in our bedroom." Isn't it ironic they don't seem to mind the government in our light sockets, the government in our thermostats, or the government in our wall cavities.
This kind of "code" has nothing to do with protecting your health or safety, and everything to do with forcing you to comply with a political goal by taking away your freedom to choose. If your house or your office isn't "sustainable", it may be expensive to operate but it won't make you sick or kill you.
Mark my words, if something like this is imposed it will make it prohibitively expensive for non-governmental entities (like, you and me) to build or renovate. It would effectively kill the small to mid-range private construction market.
Someone needs to show Eric Holder, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reed, et.al., the Tenth Amendment. Now.
Hattip: Volokh Conspiracy.
UPDATE: Here is a link to the text of the bill. And just so you know I wasn't kidding about this hitting you, too, here is Section 201, which modifies Section 304 of the Energy Conservation and Production Act:
SEC. 304. GREATER ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN BUILDING CODES.So, 30% reduction as soon as this bill is passed, 50% in 2014/15, and 5% every three years until 2029/30. And yes, that did say residential. So I guess the government in your bedroom is a good thing, after all.
`(a) Energy Efficiency Targets-
`(1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in paragraph (2) or (3), the national building code energy efficiency target for the national average percentage improvement of a building's energy performance when built to a code meeting the target shall be--
`(A) effective on the date of enactment of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, 30 percent reduction in energy use relative to a comparable building constructed in compliance with the baseline code;
`(B) effective January 1, 2014, for residential buildings, and January 1, 2015, for commercial buildings, 50 percent reduction in energy use relative to the baseline code; and
`(C) effective January 1, 2017, for residential buildings, and January 1, 2018, for commercial buildings, and every 3 years thereafter, respectively, through January 1, 2029, and January 1, 2030, 5 percent additional reduction in energy use relative to the baseline code.
UPDATE: No one is immune: SEC. 203. ENERGY EFFICIENT MANUFACTURED HOMES.