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E-M:/ new energy efficiency code proposed; falls short of what legislature repealed

Enviro-Mich message from davemec@voyager.net (dave dempsey)

February 12, 1998

On March 2, 1998, the MI Department of Consumer and Industry Services
will conduct a public hearing on the proposed new energy code for
Michigan.  The hearing will begin at 8 a.m. at the Library of Michigan,
1st floor, Forum Room, 117 West Allegan, Lansing, MI.

The proposed rules may be viewed on or down-loaded from the internet at
www.cis.state.mi.us/opla/enrgcode/resenrgy.htm.  Copies of the rules
(identified as ORR no. 96-002CI) may also be obtained from:  Office of
Legal Services, Ottawa Building, 2nd floor, 611 West Ottawa Street, PO
Box 30018, Lansing, MI 48909; phone: 517-241-2279; fax: 517-335-6696.
Written comments may be submitted to the Office of Legal Services by
April 6, 1998.

The proposed energy code exceeds the requirements of ASHRAE Standards
90A and 90B, which are the nation's original energy standards written
more than 20 years ago, but does not meet the Model Energy Code (MEC)
which has been adopted by more than half of the states.  The proposed
code, written by the Michigan Association of Home Builders, was approved
by an ad hoc committee established by the Construction Codes Commission
after the MI legislature repealed the 1993 MEC in December 1995.  In the
proposed code, the ad hoc committee also recommended, without any
analysis or cost-effectiveness studies, that ASHRAE 90A and 90B remain
as the state's commercial energy code.

Although the proposed code is for the most part an improvement over the
out-dated ASHRAE standards, there are a number of provisions that need
to be addressed to ensure that home buyers and building owners in
Michigan are protected.  These include:
*       Improving the commercial energy standards, which should not be a
political concern to the state home builders' association;
*       Revising cost-benefit analysis criteria from a 7-year payback to
more closely reflect the actual average housing turn-over rate in the
state (13.4 years in 1996);
*       Removing loopholes that permit inadequate thermal envelope
requirements; and
*       Recognizing current window technologies, including NFRC rating
and labeling.

The Alliance to Save Energy and other energy code advocates are
currently preparing a technical analysis of the proposed code to
pinpoint specific recommendations for improvement. Contact the Building
Codes Assistance Project at 202-530-2200 for  details.

Kate McQueen
Executive Director, Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP)
1200 18th Street, N.W., Suite 900
Washington, D.C.  20036
Phone: 202.530.2221
Fax: 202.331.9588

Dave Dempsey
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A
Lansing, MI  48912
(517) 487-9539
(517) 487-9541 (fax)

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