Blackburn-Schrader bill would reform DOE’s building codes

Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) reintroduced legislation last week that would make the Department of Energy’s (DOE) development of model energy codes more transparent and more cost-effective.

The DOE sets the codes to determine energy-efficiency requirements in newly constructed buildings.

“I am pleased to once again be working with Congressman Schrader in this bipartisan effort to increase government transparency and rein in the Department of Energy,” Blackburn said. “This legislation clearly defines what technical assistance DOE can provide in developing new model energy codes and guarantees that certain products and technologies are not given preferential treatment.”

Schrader said promoting energy-efficient building is a forward-thinking policy, but one that should be approached in a way that doesn’t put the federal government at odds with businesses and homeowners.

“The Energy Savings and Building Efficiency Act fulfills this goal, while protecting the environment and saving money over time,” Schrader said. “It’s a common sense solution and I am glad to team up with Rep. Blackburn to reintroduce this legislation and move it forward through Congress.”

Some constituents have expressed concerns that the DOE sets codes that require builders to use expensive materials from suppliers that may be favored by President Barack Obama’s administration, a tactic that the proposed legislation would stop.

“Our clients are interested in energy-efficiency, but they deserve to know exactly what they are paying for,” Knoxville homebuilder Ed Zarb said. “No one should be forced to use expensive materials that they cannot afford. This bill will ensure that the Department of Energy is working on behalf of the home buyer and it will curtail the influence of outside groups that seek to advance energy code proposals with little regard to the costs for home owners and home builders.”