2009 Energy Code partially repealed

The Las Vegas City Council has acknowledged problems with the 2009 Energy Code and partially repealed it. Here’s the story in the Las Vegas Review Journal:

The council voted 4-3 in favor of the measure that would make an exception to the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code for buildings that predate the standards.

Proponents of the bill, including sponsor Ward 2 Councilman Bob Beers, say the exception is necessary because it can cost too much money to bring old buildings up to the latest energy efficiency standards.

I did not express myself well to the reporter, but it’s complicated. Some hold a philosophical opinion that our government has no authority to use its sovereign power to regulate the carbon footprint of private property. If society wants government to go that direction, that’s why our Constitution can be amended. Let’s get on it, they say. Have the debate, have a vote.

But most people, I think, have found that government regulation is a wasteful process. It needs to be used carefully. Any multi-decade collection of US newsweeklies is littered with anecdotes of the benefits of regulation, but it is also littered with those exposing waste or abuse.

Members of this group are pragmatic; they leave the Constitutionality debate to others, more concerned that the government is doing it anyway. So these people focus on how this brand new regulatory process is being implemented.

The folks who created this new area of regulation sold this idea to our elected officials on a promise that in no case would any required investment not result in a direct savings on energy costs such that the cost of the investment would be paid back to the private property owner in less than ten years.

Now, we have several consecutive anecdotes where the mandated “investment” will never be recovered, because it will not result in any actual reduction in energy consumption.

It seemed clear to me, but it is apparently a grayer matter than I think. My motion to exempt buildings built before 2009 from the energy code, as amended by Cm. Coffin to not exempt residences, passed on a 4-3 vote.

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