Dear House Labor and Industry Committee,
Thank you for allowing me to submit this written testimony today and for taking up the important issue of advanced building technology.
I would like to respectfully submit this testimony on behalf of PennEnvironment’s citizen members in opposition to HB 725 or any other piece of legislation that will alter the state’s current adoption process of the International Council Code’s (ICC) energy efficiency model code.
The ICC, which is made up of building code officials, state energy officials, and representatives from industries that produce products for buildings, publishes effective model codes that make our buildings safer and more efficient. Under current law, Pennsylvania already has an effective and balanced Review and Advisory Committee that chooses whether to adopt these codes. The codes that have been put in place have resulted in huge increases in safety provisions and energy savings. Thanks to the codes, new buildings in Pennsylvania have seen a 30 percent increase in energy efficiency in just the past 5-6 years.
Pennsylvania’s buildings and homes currently consume far too much energy—40 percent of our nation’s energy use goes to heating, lighting, cooling and powering our buildings. Most of that energy is produced from burning fossil fuels, which exacerbates global warming and endangers the public health through mercury and other air pollution that triggers asthma, chronic Bronchitis, and other respiratory ailments.
Much of the energy used by Pennsylvania’s buildings is simply wasted because of poor construction techniques. This results in higher-than-necessary energy bills for the building’s occupants and owners. In order to protect our environment and our economy, we need to be more efficient about how we construct our buildings.
The balanced adoption of the ICC codes ensures that Pennsylvania takes certain steps forward when it comes to efficiency, saving our environment and citizens’ pocketbooks at the same time.
It’s estimated that the adoption of the latest codes will save the average homeowner more than $300 per year on their energy bills, and the small added cost of the new code requirements would be recouped through energy savings in less than five years. Each dollar spent on implementation results in a six-fold payoff in energy savings. When the added cost of those efficiency improvements is spread out over the life of a mortgage, most homeowners will see savings right away.
In these tough economic times, Pennsylvanians deserve to have homes that are safe and that will save them money on their energy bills.
Again, I would like to thank members of the committee for allowing me to submit this written testimony today. I look forward to working with you to ensure that great policy does not get overturned.
Clean Energy Associate