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City Councilor Klarissa Peña Introducing Resolution to Delay Implementation of International Energy Conservation Code

The City Council approved the updated version of IECC at the August 3rd City Council Meeting.

August 6, 2020

On August 3rd the City Council voted to adopt the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) to replace the 2009 version of the IECC.  This action came in the midst of an ongoing, months-long discussion at the State Level, for energy code requirements for new construction and remodels across the State. 

This action by the City Council has made the requirements for new construction in Albuquerque more stringent, and quite possibly more expensive, than anywhere else in the State, including Bernalillo County and Rio Rancho. Questions raised at the City Council meeting regarding the affordability of homes that are built to the 2018 IECC standards were not adequately addressed or were answered without verification or by presenting any analysis or studies. 

“My concern is how the implementation of the 2018 IECC may increase the cost of homes, particularly for first time buyers, who may be priced out,” said Councilor Klarissa Peña. “What good are energy savings to a would-be buyer who can no longer afford to buy? What good are they to a renter who cannot afford the newer units constructed under the code?”

Councilor Peña continued, “While I ultimately voted for the ordinance out of my support for energy conservation. I also expressed my strong reservations about taking this step so quickly. While the State continues consideration of updating the code through ongoing hearings, I fear the Council may have acted too hastily, and did not adequately evaluate this move in the context of potential unintended consequences.”

Councilor Klarissa Peña is proposing a resolution, R-20-89, that would delay the implementation of the energy code update for six months, in order to conduct a study and assess cost increases that may be associated with the 2018 IECC Code and related impacts on housing access for people of color, particularly those persons earning less than the median income of the City.

A delayed implementation will also provide builders time to adapt to the new code requirements, especially those who have already invested in designing projects under the 2009 IECC standards. R-20-89 will be introduced at the next City Council Meeting on August 17, 2020.