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 The world’s COVID-19 pandemic certainly impacted supply chain issues and resulting home affordability challenges.  It also gave scientists an unprecedented view of results that would take years to achieve through tightened regulations.  A drastic decrease in air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions were achieved within just a few weeks when the world was locked down.   By the latter part of 2020, emissions returned to levels near those before the pandemic, despite still-reduced activity in many sectors of the economy.  While all would agree it is necessary to resume business as normal, the door was opened for discussion about the need to reduce emissions permanently across our worldwide energy infrastructure.  In the middle of it all, the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) was issued and is starting to be analyzed and adopted with amendments as per the normal process. Some states and cities, including Denton, TX, have already jumped ahead to adopt 2021 I-codes into their city ordinances.

This issue’s Savvy Special Report takes a look at today’s Texas energy codes (based on the 2018 IECC) and the changes recommended in the latest 2021 IECC, while our Focus Section relates various strategies for getting to the baseline ahead of the curve and eventually getting to Net Zero when it makes economic sense.  While we all must weigh the cost versus payback period and fight against legislation that prices more people out of homeownership, Savvy Builders would generally agree that code is a baseline that we should always try to exceed and as technology makes it possible to keep making energy improvements, so should our codes and standards.

While it may seem a bad time to institute any significant changes right now, builders and remodelers can benefit in being able to say that energy codes have increased efficiency requirements by about 40 percent over the last 15 years and HERS Index Scores prove that homes are 72 percent more efficient than a typical home built in the 1970s.  There’s also the estimation that by 2035, 75 percent of the building stock in our country will be new or renovated.  What percentage of that are you going to be part of?

2022 GMC Sierra Denali

While we know that many of you enjoy our Savvy Trucks & Toys columns just because you are car buffs, another reason for including this column in a home building industry publication lies in the fact that it is often telling to compare two industries that tend to mirror one another as far as trends
are concerned.

READ THE SAVVY DRIVERS’ POST: GMC Fights to Hold Its Top Spot in the Ring

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