Incoming mail on the Energy Code

I received an email from an energy businesswoman @ this weekend:

Comments: Dear Councilman Beers,
You have an upcoming bill 2013-24 to vote on June 19th. I have been to all of the meetings and debates on this bill and I am not sure why we even have this bill up for a vote. It comes down to one business that this bill was created for and was affected. The IECC 2009 code has an exemption clause in the bill that this business could have used. The owner hired bad contractors and AP’s that took him for a ride with his expenses not the IECC 2009 code. The code was not the cause of his excessive expense. Nor did the code make Trivoli put in tinted windows! One other key factor is the fact the you are a partner with this business owner on another project DOWNTOWN so doesn’t it seem odd that he is making a bill for his own use and benefit? There is never a time in any situation where going backwards is in the best interest for anyone. You have the City of Las Vegas striving to be the leader in LEED projects and sustainability to save water and electricity, then you are working this other angle to go backwards? I would hope that you will not support this bill, the bill already has avenues for exemption there isn’t a need for the change. It is time decisions are made for the right reason and for the people of Las Vegas not for your personal benefit. Thank you for your time! Jodie Date: 6/14/2013 10:38:40 AM

I wrote back:

Thanks for writing.

Interesting. I see your points, but from a different perspective.

George Harris won’t benefit from the passage of this ordinance. The “International Energy Code” has already wreaked its full havoc on his investors’ last project downtown. Mandating an investment that will never be returned in energy cost savings is the worst possible outcome for Governance. And it can’t be undone. That damage is done.

Only future projects will be impacted by this change. If a group led by Harris (or Tony Hsieh, or Nevada Legal Services, or you, or whatever downtown property owner you want to name) moves forward with a new project refurbishing an old commercial building, none will benefit more than any other. If everyone benefits, that’s actually the goal of government policy.

I don’t understand how this ordinance would create an inequity in the rental market, either. To renters, the “nut” is the sum of all costs to occupy a commercial space. Consumers consider the sum of rent and energy costs (and a bunch of other costs) as the figure they base their business decisions on. Thus, spaces with higher energy costs carry lower rent, punishing energy wasting property owners. That’s why almost all investors take all reasonable steps to build energy conservative spaces, and did long before this code was adopted.

Sustainability is everyone’s goal here, Ms. Smith. Nobody is interested in wasting energy, willy-nilly. But sustainability must consider livability. And it doesn’t matter if it’s an error within the “International Energy Code” or one with the way we’ve implemented it, that caused the problem. The fix is to pull back, regroup, and figure out what’s broken. To me, that’s not backward. That’s smart.

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