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)

“The vast majority of people in the building industry are there to make money and not to save the world,” Edwards said.

Stan Roemer, owner of Bella Home of Arkansas Inc. in Fayetteville, said future homebuyers don’t seem to care about the energy scorecards of the homes.

“They haven’t told me that they were really glad that we’re doing it,” Roemer said.

He said meeting the requirements of Fayetteville’s energy-efficiency program, though, has added about $2,000 to the price of a home.

Edwards, the architect, said spending more to make a home energy efficient pays for itself in utility bill savings over time. He said he added 1,200 SF to his 1950s ranch home around 2010 and used more expensive spray foam insulation rather than the traditional fiberglass or cellulose insulation.

“The upfront cost is probably triple that of bad insulation,” Edwards said. But “you could make that back in two years in energy costs.”

He said his utility bills are is the same now as when the home was only 1,200 SF.

And it’s changed the way he designs homes.

“It’s definitely made me think more about” sustainability,” Edwards said. “Now were putting that into new designs as well.”

The Energy Code

Lowery, of the Arkansas Energy Office, said that when the state of Arkansas received about $140 million as part of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009, it had to update its energy code to meet the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code.

He said the federal government requires that the state is 90 percent in compliance with the IECC standards by 2017 or the state might miss out on federal funds for projects such as weatherization assistance or city grants for energy-related projects that use federal money.



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