On Friday, July 7th, Governor Cooper vetoed HB 488. As people of faith, we applaud his leadership and understanding of how this piece of legislation will negatively impact the people and environment of North Carolina.
The impacts of HB 488 will hinder the progress of crucial updates to the state’s building energy conservation codes, which have been under consideration by the North Carolina Building Code Council for the past two years. Currently, the Council is deliberating an update that would align the codes with the 2021 standards, representing a significant improvement over the existing codes established in 2009. Regrettably, certain members of the N.C. General Assembly are actively attempting to impede these much-needed updates through House Bill 488.
NC Interfaith Power & Light, the NC Council of Churches energy justice program, has collected signatures from individuals and congregations endorsing an expert editorial opposing HB 488. We are now praying that those members of the N.C. General Assembly, who possess a deep sense of conscience and genuine concern for our communities, will sustain the veto and allow the NC Building Code Council to complete the necessary and overdue update to the NC Building Codes.
According to independent analysis and results from homebuilders who are already incorporating provisions of the proposed code, these updated Codes will save new residential homeowners an average of $399 (18.7%) a year in utility costs. Updating the codes in line with the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code will create thousands of new jobs, boost the North Carolina economy, and result in $5.3 billion in savings to residential consumers over a thirty-year period.1
If the Governor’s veto is overturned, House Bill 488 will throw out these savings and two years of work by the NC Building Code Council. Instead of new codes taking effect in January 2025, they would be delayed until 2031. This would mean new homes in North Carolina would be built to 20-year-old code standards that are less efficient and more expensive for occupants to operate during a time of significant utility rate increases and lead to our state missing out on federal FEMA funding.
If the current Building Code Council is allowed to finish its work, the economic benefits to the 10 million people of North Carolina will be: $5.3 Billion in utility bill savings over the next 30 years2, plus increased tax revenues, more manufacturing jobs, and job training programs that will give more North Carolinians a living wage, and homes that are more likely to survive hurricanes.
This bill is truly a justice issue that impacts the people and environment of North Carolina. Please use your “power & light” from within and help protect the Veto on HB 488 and contact your members of the North Carolina General Assembly today!
1Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of the 2024 North Carolina Energy Conservation Code, Page 2, PNNL-180509. March 24, 2023.
2Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of the 2024 North Carolina Energy Conservation Code, Page 2, PNNL-180509. March 24, 2023