Bill would establish new minimum energy standard

The Urban Affairs Committee heard testimony Feb. 15 on a measure that would adopt a new minimum energy standard for the state.

LB329, introduced by Omaha Sen. Tanya Cook, would adopt the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) as the Nebraska Energy Code. The bill also would update language regarding existing structures and historic buildings to conform to the 2009 code and would provide for IECC training for builders and inspectors.

Cook said she introduced the bill on behalf of the Nebraska Energy Office because the state is required to make a reasonable effort to update its energy code as a condition of receiving $31 million in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.

“If the code is not updated, the state of Nebraska will risk future funding,” Cook said.

Nebraska Energy Office director Ginger Willson testified in support of the bill, saying updating the code would allow Nebraska to remain competitive in seeking federal grants. An important change in the 2009 code is that the entire state is designated as the same climate zone, she said, rather than three different zones as under the 2003 code.

Nathan Pepper of the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance testified in support of the bill, saying the single climate zone designation is a positive change.

“This change will result in more uniformity across the state,” he said. “It will also make training and enforcement efforts more straightforward.”

No opposition testimony was offered and the committee took no immediate action on the bill.

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