A small group of homebuilders and construction workers, distressed by the current economic times, are urging the Albuquerque City Council to roll back the city's Energy Conservation Code because they believe the energy-saving measures add a burdensome cost on new construction. I empathize with their hard times, but they shouldn't mislead the elected officials and public into thinking their proposal is a "fix"—it surely is not.
There are many factors "hurting" the construction industry now: Banks are not lending; the high foreclosure rate and an oversupply of new houses in the market; a weak demand because of job loss and the overall contraction in the economy. City Councilors will be making a final decision on Monday, Dec. 5, at 5 p.m. The choice, as I see it, is between caving into this vocal minority who want to build cheaper houses—and the rest of us.
In times of increasing utility costs, we want to reduce operating costs with the best energy efficiency measures available. In times of increasing CO2 and climate disruption, we want to reduce our energy demands and reduce emissions from our coal-fired power plants. In times of re-evaluating the legacy we are leaving to the next generation, we want homes built with our children in mind because those buildings will likely be standing 30 to 40 years from now. I'm pleased the New Mexico Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council and my neighborhood association oppose this attempt to weaken the current Energy Conservation Code. Make your voice heard before Dec. 5.