Arkansas Homebuilders Get Their Way on Energy Code

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Feb. 10, 2014 12:00 am  

Ron Hughes, owner of Home Energy Rating Services of Little Rock, wanted the Arkansas Energy Code to include mandatory energy testing of new homes. The city of Fayetteville requires new homes to list an "Energy Scorecard."  (Photo of Hughes by Mark Friedman)

But not all homebuilders were against the energy performance label.

Keith Wingfield, who along with his wife, Patty, owns River Rock Builders of Little Rock, said he supported having the disclosure.

“So the consumer will know and be able to rely on what they’re buying,” he said. “I’m in the overwhelming minority of my building brethren, but that still doesn’t make me not know what’s right.”

Fayetteville Codes

Rucker, from the Homebuilders Association, said that when the Arkansas Energy Code is approved, it won’t prevent a homebuyer from having an energy audit or a city from adopting stricter requirements if they want.

The city of Fayetteville already has higher energy standards than the current Arkansas Energy Code. And those standards have its supporters and critics.

In December 2007, the city of Fayetteville formed a committee to improve energy efficiency in new construction in the city. The committee helped create Fayetteville’s “Energy Scorecard”, which allows builders and buyers to know how the home’s energy efficiency compares with other homes in the area, according to the city of Fayetteville’s website.

The scorecard also will help the homebuyer understand what the home’s energy costs will be, the website said.

Architect Bradley Edwards of Fayetteville praised the scorecard and said a number of his clients were looking for ways to save on energy. He added that Fayetteville’s energy codes aren’t daunting.

“It’s actually a good thing and usually helps the quality of the project improve as well,” Edwards said. “There’s kind of a win-win in that respect because you’re using more sustainable building products and you’re building a more efficient” home.

He said there is a conflict with the stricter Fayetteville codes and the homebuilder, who is trying to make money on the project.

“Sustainability means you have to make the building last,” he said. “That’s not the incentive for the builder who’s trying to turn around a building really quick.



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