In the story of climate change, smokestacks and tailpipes are the stock villains, spewing carbon dioxide into the air.
Often overlooked are homes, offices and other buildings — which require electricity and natural gas to heat, cool and light — that account for nearly a third of all energy consumption and an even larger share of heat-trapping gases.
With new technologies it’s now possible to build structures that require far less energy — and in some cases, no fossil fuels — to operate, but building codes, which establish minimum standards, have yet to catch up, especially in states like Wisconsin where many of the energy efficiency standards are nearly a decade behind the newest model codes.
Now, Gov. Tony Evers’ administration has begun a review of those codes, which the governor’s climate change task force identified as one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.