A recent post of mine concerning Congressional testimony by Phil Giudice, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, in support of a national building code requiring significant improvements in energy efficiency, has apparently caused heartburn among some of my friends in the development community in Massachusetts. Some folks have asked if I have “drunk the kool-aid.” My selfish responses to these comments are, first, that I’m glad some one is reading the blog and, second, that I’m sorry they are not commenting directly. I really do want discussion.
My third reaction is that a point of clarification seems in order. No, I am not a supporter of the so-called “stretch” building code in Massachusetts, which would allow municipalities, by local option, to promulgate a building code more stringent than the already efficient code recently promulgated by the State Board of Building Regulations and Standards. Local option or not, one building code is enough for Massachusetts.
At the same time, there is little doubt that energy consumption in buildings is going to be a significant piece of the solution to climate change. It’s not all going to come from power plants and mobile sources. Moreover, tough regulations that involve some measure of technology-forcing are almost certainly going to be necessary if we’re going to achieve an 80% reduction in GHG emissions. Just as those in the power generation sector and mobile source sector have had to deal with technology-forcing in the past – and will again going forward with respect to climate change – so too will the building and development sectors.
Finally, from a purely parochial level, if that type of tough technology-forcing regulation is coming in Massachusetts, I want the same tough regulations nationwide; otherwise it’s only going to get more difficult for Massachusetts to compete with other states for new development projects.
If that’s drinking the kool-aid, give me more.