Diverse coalition of builders, groups urge adoption of energy-efficient building codes

Diverse coalition of builders, groups urge adoption of energy-efficient building codes

Update to Michigan’s building energy codes can save money 


Lansing, Mich. – Today, a diverse, nonpartisan coalition urged adoption of the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) as the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) heard public comments on Michigan’s building energy codes. 


The IECC sets out minimum efficiency standards for new construction, which cover components such as walls, floors, ceilings, lighting, windows and leakages. At least seven states have already adopted the IECC’s 2021 standards.


“Michigan’s current building codes are severely outdated and are leaving Michiganders, especially low-and-moderate incomes, with subpar options when it comes to buying or renting new construction,” said Charlotte Jameson, chief policy officer at Michigan Environmental Council. “We have the technology to run our homes off clean energy and make them more comfortable for less money. It’s common sense to adopt these updated building codes so residents can save money on their monthly utility bills.”


In Michigan, buildings consume more than 50% of all energy produced. The average Michigan household could save $327 in utility bills per year with the 2021 IECC standard compared to the current code, according to a U.S. Department of Energy analysis. Building owners could save $63 annually for each 1,000 square feet of commercial space. 


In her recent State of the State address, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer highlighted the state’s housing as an area for improvement. Almost half of the homes in Michigan were built before 1970, and young people say housing affordability is one of their top concerns. Last year, Whitmer set a goal to build or refurbish 75,000 units in five years. Adopting modernized building energy codes will help ensure that new buildings and clean-energy retrofits will serve the Governor’s goals and will also reduce utility bills and maintain comfort. 


“It is important that new homes are built by standards that will save people money, prevent energy waste and reduce health-harming pollution,” said Nick Occhipinti, state government affairs director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “Doing so will ensure Michigan’s homes are more comfortable, more affordable and climate-friendly.”


“It’s time for Michigan’s policymakers to take the next step to build a stronger energy future by adopting robust energy efficiency standards for Michigan’s homes,” said Grace Michienzi, senior director of policy at Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council. “These changes are crucial to reducing household costs for Michiganders and supporting the growing energy efficiency industry.”


“Michigan should feel confident that the unweakened 2021 IECC is cost-effective,” said Alison Lindburg, building codes and policy director at the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. “A recent analysis by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) shows that an average Michigan homeowner would see positive cash flow within four years with a home built to the full 2021 IECC over the current Michigan code.”


The following groups also expressed support for adopting the 2021 IECC: Better World Builders, City of Ann Arbor, Elevate, Evergreen Action, Green Projects Group, McNeely Building Group, RMI and Sierra Club.


Read comments submitted to LARA by MEEA