Groups Seek EV Readiness, Other Provisions Within Building Code

Several groups in a letter to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs asked for it to adopt an international set of standards for energy conservation for the building of homes and commercial buildings, touting estimated savings on utility billing and for electric vehicle charging at homes.

In its letter to the director of LARA's Bureau of Construction Codes, the 11 groups signing on to the letter called for the bureau to adopt the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code for residential and commercial buildings. The groups also asked for residential code that new homes should be made ready for electric vehicle charging.

Specifically, the groups asked that the 2021 code be maintained without any amendments weakening standards for either residential or commercial code. Also, it was requested that an energy monitoring requirement removed from the draft rule for the commercial code be reinstated and that the residential code include electric vehicle provisions for home readiness for EVs.

"These provisions will lower costs for Michigan residents and businesses, increase household resilience from extreme weather events, and help reduce climate impacts from the building sector," the groups wrote. "This is crucial for ensuring Michigan's building codes are equitable, delivering benefits to people face poor housing quality, high energy burdens, and disproportionate health impacts in their homes and communities resulting from our reliance on fossil fuels."

The bureau received public comments this week and will soon forward its recommendations to the Legislature for final approval.

Groups in the letter commended the bureau for its adoption of the 2021 IECC and urged to maintain it without amendments to weaken it. The letter also references a recent study through the U.S. Department of Energy showing the 2021 code would lead to 10.7 percent energy savings compared to existing state energy code, or about a $327 yearly savings on utility bills.

It was also stated that changes under the 2021 IECC would reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the state over 30 years by an estimated 11.46 metric tons. This would be the equivalent of the yearly emissions produced by about 2.5 million vehicles on roadways.

For energy monitoring for commercial buildings, it was stated monitoring can help reduce energy consumption between 2 percent and 8 percent in buildings. This would be helpful for communities seeking to reach carbon neutrality, the groups said.

As to EV charging in residential buildings, the letter noted the most recent state statistics put the number of publicly accessible charging stations in the state total about 480, with about 1,400 charging ports between them. There are about 146 private charging stations statewide.

"Without additional EV charging readiness amendments to the state's building code, we miss a key opportunity to help our residents transition to EVs," the groups wrote.

Installation of residential EV infrastructure costs about $500 when a home is built, with adding infrastructure in later costing an estimated $1,500 to $3,000, the letter stated.

Signing the letter were officials with the Michigan Environmental Council, PHIUS, the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter, Michigan Clinicians for Climate Action, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, the Ecology Center, DFD Architecture, the Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition, the New Buildings Institute and the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance.

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