Governor’s Energy Efficiency Summit and Release of Colgan Report
Comments by Brownie Carson, NRCM executive director
We applaud the Governor’s efforts to bring us all together here today in pursuit of an energy efficient economy. This white paper by Dr. Colgan is an excellent analysis of the benefits Maine can achieve if we all work together.
We hope this Summit represents a watershed moment as we begin to move beyond the idea of energy efficiency and really start making the decisions and investments that will put energy efficiency to work for Maine.
Energy efficiency represents taking control of our energy destiny; making Maine’s economy and environment into what we want it to be.
Maine can’t control the price of oil or electricity, but we can control how much of them we need to buy. Improving energy efficiency saves Maine people money, strengthens our economy and protects our environment.
I strongly urge the Legislature this session to adopt enforceable energy efficiency standards in building codes, as is one of the four key recommendations in this report.
Building standards used during new construction are one of the best, most cost-effective strategies any state can take—it is time for Maine to move forward.
40 other states—including all of New England—have adopted energy efficiency codes. Because Maine lacks a statewide code, 85% of new homes fail to meet minimum energy efficiency levels.
The PUC estimates the cost of this failure at around $2 million per year—multiply $2 million by the 50 year plus life of our buildings and you are talking real money.
The standards that have been proposed save money for Maine homeowners from day one.
Energy building codes are also a key next step in Maine’s Climate Action Plan, and among the top-ten most cost-effective strategies in the Plan.
The Legislature has an opportunity in the next few days to pass legislation that would act on one of the top recommendations in this whitepaper—establishing a statewide building and energy code with meaningful enforcement.
A uniform code improves predictability for builders and developers, reduces costs, protects consumers and keeps more money in Maine people’s pockets.
There is very broad support for this legislation from environmental groups, homebuilders, contractors, developers, town officials, efficiency and historic preservation groups, and more. However a narrow set of interests, primarily MMA, is still working actively to derail this legislation.
It is time for us to move forward on this important issue. Building codes are among the most simple and cost-effective steps to take. We must make this happen now, so that we will be on the road to realizing the untapped potential presented by the Colgan Report.