With Time Running Out To Cut Carbon From Buildings, Industry Just Tightened Its Grip

Published by Huffington Post: Buildings are huge generators of planet-warming gases, with fossil fuels responsible for everything from heating and cooling to cooking and charging our devices. Experts say a massive overhaul of building efficiency is imperative within the next decade to prevent catastrophic warming. Building codes are updated every three years, and making those more aggressive is the most obvious way to make such an overhaul happen. But as the private consortium that writes the codes that all 50 states adopt is preparing for the next round, it has given industries opposed to climate progress even more power over the process.

Until recently, the International Code Council gave local governments the final say over what building codes included. But the group revoked regulators’ right to vote on codes earlier this year, bowing to pressure from the building industry and gas utilities. Now, powerful industry players with profits on the line have veto power over the final codes under a new system that requires a two-thirds majority of the committee to approve the rules.

“The makeup of the committees should deliver a code that is better than the 2021 code,” said Kim Cheslak, director of codes for the nonprofit New Buildings Institute and a member of the commercial buildings committee. “But the committee membership and voting process as we understand it will allow for a small faction of members susceptible to special interest pressures to stop the final code from meeting what’s necessary for electrification and resilience of our buildings.”

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