Indiana hasn’t updated its rules on energy efficiency and safety measures in several years. Environmentalists hope a proposed change to the building code leads to a greener Indiana.
Indiana is one of the worst states when it comes to energy efficient homes and businesses. It ranked 40th on the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy’s scorecard last year.
But the Hoosier Chapter of the Sierra Club hopes proposed updates to the Residential Code will reduce pollution and save people money. The chapter's energy efficiency organizer Monica Cannaley says the new draft of the code requires builders to put more insulation in new homes, use an energy rating index, and test for air leaks.
“These homes are going to be around for at least 50 years and if we can make them energy efficient when they’re built, then they will be saving energy throughout the life of the home,” she says.
Carlie Hopper is the governmental affairs director for the Indiana Builders Association. She says new safety measures will likely increase costs for home buyers and those need to take priority over efficiency.
“These are things that make you more comfortable and, yes, may ultimately save you on your bill," says Hopper. "The point is you have to be able to pay for them upfront. So if you can’t do that, then it keeps you out of that first home that might also offer you those additional safety features.”
The Indiana Residential Code Committee will review parts of code that deal with energy efficiency at a meeting on July 18 at 9 a.m. in Indianapolis.
Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.