Brian Peteritas is a GOVERNING contributor.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Strengthening building codes is a step towards improving energy efficiency in private homes, which is why local governments continually update them. However, the departments charged with insuring code compliance may be overburdened, lacking the time, budget and manpower to enforce new codes. Georgia has turned to third parties in an effort to close any enforcement gaps. The state is allowing individuals with existing Home Energy Ratings System (HERS) or Building Performance Institute (BPI) certifications to perform any newly required testing. Another option for certification includes completing an eight-hour course and written exam that has been created for the new codes. The state already has 1,300 certified testers working throughout the state, potentially helping reduce department costs and administrative burdens. A number of groups claim that buildings account for roughly forty percent of U.S. energy use, so raising compliance in all 50 states could garner significant energy savings that could be a boon to homeowners in tough economic times. Plans similar to the one in Georgia are in place in Austin, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; and Washington, D.C.