The Spectacle Blog

Environmentalists: Unsafe and Unsound

By on 12.15.10 | 2:38PM

Here's yet another example of nanny-state government know-it-alls who unnecessarily coerce an industry into behaviors simply because they can. This time it's in the name of energy efficiency, which the North Carolina Building Code Council just can't believe is an issue that's better left to decisions made between construction companies and their customers. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports:

After months of debate, the N.C. Building Code Council voted Tuesday to adopt new energy-efficient building rules for commercial and residential construction....

The new rules, in the works for two years, are designed to promote green buildings, lower consumers' energy bills and cut the state's carbon emissions.

They also will increase building costs at a time when the housing market is recovering from the worst downturn since the Great Depression.

To spare homebuilders some of that burden, the council voted Tuesday to require a 30 percent improvement in energy efficiency in commercial buildings and just 15 percent in homes.

But don't worry -- the government geniuses are also mandating savings in other construction areas so the energy efficiency requirement costs aren't so bad:

Per the governor's orders, the Building Code Council must also find roughly $3,000 in savings per house for homebuilders within the existing residential code.

"They have to find $3,000 or so in offsets, and they've got a list of things to choose from," (Gov. Beverly) Perdue said.

So what will be compromised in the offsets?

Several members expressed worry on Tuesday that the offsets could mean sacrificing safety for the sake of energy efficiency.

Alan Perdue (not related to Gov. Perdue), director of emergency services for Guilford County, said the way the amendments were presented to the council was "highly irregular...."

One would allow for battery-operated smoke alarms, not hard-wired units, in rooms that are undergoing renovations that require a building permit. Another would remove a requirement for sprinklers in some residential buildings. A third would remove a requirement regarding the adoption of appendages by local ordinance, which affects the ability of fire services to dictate things like the width of roads in subdivisions and the placement of fire hydrants.

Just another in a long line of unintended consequences from "solutions" that environmentalists want to force on everyone else, like low-flow toilets that use more water than normal toilets, and biofuels and wind energy that create more carbon emissions than they save.

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