Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Local-Option Energy Codes are not the best or only tool for meeting municipal carbon goals through residential energy conservation.

 I found this message in news feed 6/9/2021, from group Onward Oregon:

Tell your legislators to support 100% clean energy and stronger local energy efficiency standards

A message from our friends at Climate Solutions:

House Bills 2021 and 2398 are concrete steps we can take to reduce air pollution, address the climate crisis, and help protect our state's beauty and livability for decades to come.


Please urge your state legislators to prioritize climate action by passing House Bills 2021 and 2398 this year!

Bill; 2398 action touted at the  link is mainly the adoption of Reach Code

Relating to building codes; declaring an emergency.

Adds Reach Code to state building code as specialty code and gives power of administration and interpretation of Reach Code to Director of Department of Consumer and Business Services. Requires director of Department of Consumer and Business Services] to follow same process in adopting or amending Reach Code that director follows in developing residential and commercial building codes and to ensure that statewide Reach Code mandates achievement of not more than 90 percent of site energy use that other statewide residential and commercial building codes require. Requires director to adopt Reach Code not later than October 31, 2021, and at same time director adopts corresponding residential specialty code or corresponding structural specialty code, updating Reach Code at least every three years. Permits municipality to adopt Reach Code and require adherence to code as minimum construction standard and method within municipality's jurisdiction notwithstanding requirement that state building code be uniform and applicable to all municipalities in state. Provides that municipality's adoption of Reach Code is not amendment to state building code and does not require approval of director. Provides that municipality that does not adopt Reach Code does not need to enforce Reach Code within municipality's jurisdiction. Declares emergency, effective July 1, 2021.

Learn about Reach Code at the following links:

Good heat pump water heaters are further supported. There is modest improvement of exterior wall insulation, with 2x4 framing allowed. There is no change of attic insulation required.

Where my interest is in the achievable improvement of existing homes, I am disappointed in this push upon me to support legislation. Building codes apply only to new homes prior to first occupancy. And, yet, outdated and interfering Plumbing Codes are addressed in municipal permitting of the HPWH opportunity. We must not let permitting delay, or even halt, energy conservation.

I believe this is feel-good action to do something for residential energy conservation, to be credited to municipal goals in carbon reduction, via easy change of building codes.A simple "Reach Code" is the largest break from statewide codes that might get past opposition. The goal isn't really-better building code. It is the allowance at all, of local options.

Local option is not limited to code adoption. Much more can be achieved toward municipal goals by actually directly inspiring prospective new-home owners, and especially, existing-home owners through financing benefits that might be offered with burgeoning public-bank deposits of the revenue of existing  accepted, carbon taxes. In Oregon, these taxes include mainly our Public Purpose fund take of 3% on residential and commercial energy consumption in the form of electricity and natural gas. In City of Portland, largest corporation profits are now subject to a 1% carbon tax on profits. All of this existing carbon tax is spent-down every year with little benefit to consumers and to green jobs workers in clean energy.

My wishful thinking upon proper use of carbon tax revenue as funding of beneficial  loans-only from perpetual and growing funds. is addressed here:

Good Things: Oregon Carbon Taxes and an Oregon State Bank

Improvements in my thinking are overdue.  They might grow through beginning at last, of legislative action. The first needed action is a constitutional amendment to undo a still-in-effect absurd badly-spelled 1880 Oregon Constitution prohibition upon a State Bank.

Article X!, Section 1. Prohibition of state banks.

The Legislative Assembly shall not have the

power to establish, or incorporate any bank

or banking company, or monied [sic] institution

whatever; nor shall any bank company,

or instition [sic] exist in the State, with the

privilege of making, issuing, or putting in

circulation, any bill, check, certificate,

prommisory [sic] note, or other paper, or the

paper of any bank company, or person, to

circulate as money. —

Note: The semicolon appearing in the signed Constitution

after the word “whatever” in section 1 was not

in the original draft reported to and adopted by the

convention and is not part of the Constitution. State v.

H.S. & L.A., 8 Or. 396, 401 (1880).

The public surely supports repeal of this prohibition. Let's get that done.