The Las Vegas City Council has acknowledged problems with the 2009 Energy Code and partially repealed it.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.
Earth may be warming. The scientific record is clear that most parts of the earth have been through warming – and cooling – stages over the course of time. One theory – the Government is not acting on this one – is that this warming/cooling cycle over history will continue, likely because something about climate warming causes cooling, and something about climate cooling causes warming. The other theory – this is the one the Government has been spending a lot of money promoting – is that climate warming, underway globally at this time, has gotten hotter faster, so it will continue to get hotter faster until we burn up.
A key sub-theory of the Government’s current theory is that a warming climate will cause the release of massive amounts of carbon molecules (greenhouse gasses) from the tundra. New research says that doesn’t appear to be true:
The call to human action to stop infinite global warming is why city governments got in the business of attempting to regulate people’s carbon footprint, expanding municipal interest, for the first time, beyond the safety of human-constructed spaces and objects.
You would expect the call to action to be taken up by highly trained experts on energy consumption, generation, and transmission – engineers. Instead, the architects and designers jumped forward to claim ownership of this highly technical set of standards, and found the mandates a bonanza of enhanced fees.
Nor did municipal governments allocate big bucks to hire engineers and scientists to implement. They relied on their existing building and safety staffs to police the designers.
We all agree that sustainability is important. But differences of opinion arise between builders, owners, architects and city regulators as to what all that bureaucratic, technocratic language in the code actually means. The result is that the 2009 IECC Energy Code isn’t working. Advocates promise that the Energy Code won’t force anybody to spend money that they won’t get back through energy bill savings in longer than ten years. In fact, we now have stories about how it resulted in a rehabilitated business being forced to spend money that it will likely never recover through power bill savings.