77th Annual Meeting

CALLING FOR CONGRESS TO AMEND FEDERAL LEGISLATION THAT IS IMPEDING THE CREATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF INNOVATIVE PERFORMANCE-BASED GREEN BUILDING CODES

WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors has previously adopted strong policy resolutions for cities, communities, and the federal government to take actions to reduce fossil fuel consumption and global warming pollution through green building code initiatives; and

WHEREAS, the building sector accounts for 39% of the nation's energy use and 72% of U.S. electricity use, and therefore presents an enormous opportunity for significantly reducing energy costs, improving the environment, improving building operations, and increasing the amount of funds in local economies that are available for expenditure on goods and services other than energy; and

WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors has vowed to work to increase the fossil-fuel reduction standard for all new buildings to carbon neutral by 2030, in the following increments:

    60% in 2010
    70% in 2015
    80% in 2020
    90% in 2025
    Carbon-neutral by 2030 (meaning new buildings will use no fossil fuel GHG emitting energy to operate); and

WHEREAS, local governments have been the incubators of innovative green building codes and new green technologies, recognizing that although warming is global, solutions must be local in order to account for specific regional energy needs and methods for addressing them; and

WHEREAS, Congress has instructed the Department of Energy (DOE) to set certain minimum energy efficiency levels for heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment (HVAC) and water heaters in connection with and under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), 42 U.S.C §§ 6201, et seq. (2006) (as amended by the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA), Pub. L. No 100-102 (1987), and the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPACT), Pub. L. 102-486 (1992) while Congress has at the same time recognized that state and local agencies should have "primary responsibilities" for the protection of consumers or practices affecting commerce which relate to the implementation of measures likely to conserve, or improve efficiency in the use of energy, including energy conservation measures and renewable resource energy measures (42 U.S.C § 6325(d)); and

WHEREAS, despite these established roles for local government, a federal district court recently enjoined an innovative performance-based green building code that provided several alternative compliance paths (including LEEDŽ certification) designed to improve building energy efficiency levels by 30%, finding that the performance-based code was preempted by EPCA because it allegedly required the use of HVAC and water heaters that were manufactured at energy efficiency levels in excess of the minimums set by EPCA and the DOE; and

WHEREAS, the minimum energy efficiency standards for HVAC equipment and water heaters set by ECPA and the DOE are at levels that in some cases have not been modified in decades and generally are obsolete, as evidenced by the fact that, according to reports by the HVAC industry, 37% of all HVAC sales in 2007 were of models beyond federal minimum efficiency standards; and

WHEREAS, many local governments have established - or are seeking to establish - similar performance-based building codes based on LEEDŽ or existing energy efficiency programs, the validity of which are called into question by the court's preemption finding,

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by The U.S. Conference of Mayors acting on behalf of its constituents to call on the Congress of the United States to amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), 42 U.S.C §§ 6201, et seq. (2006) (as amended by the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA), Pub. L. No 100-102 (1987), so as to remove preemption barriers in order to allow local governments broader authority in establishing performance-based building codes; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports comprehensive reform of federals laws so as to promote the creation, implementation and enforcement of innovative energy efficient green building codes by local governments and municipalities.