Home Builders Association of Illinois.
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“2 Minute Warnings”
Oppose the Governor’s Energy Bill NOW!
The Home Builders Association of Illinois opposes the passage of the Energy Bill to be considered in a Special Session of the Illinois General Assembly on Tuesday, June 15 in the State Senate; and, Wednesday, June 16 in the Illinois House.
The Energy Bill has been kept behind closed doors and away from the public for almost six months now. Unless you are a lobbyist for an environmental group or a public utility, you have little chance of seeing its current contents, let alone redress the Illinois legislature with your own opinions on the matter. It appears this legislation is set to pass and then we will discuss the merits.
Since January, the legislation has been a moving target using different names and bill numbers that keeps the public guessing as to what is in the 950 page document. The bills this session include:
HB804 – The Clean Energy Jobs Act (Williams-D, Chicago)
HB4074 – Consumers & Climate First Act (Buckner-D, Chicago)
SB2896 – Consumers & Climate First Act (Villanueva-D, Summit).
Consistent with each bill is language that will gravely affect the housing industry. To reduce carbon emissions in Illinois, the 950-page bill addresses mostly issues dealing with coal-fired power plants, natural gas, and the expanded use of nuclear energy plants.
But there are 14 pages of legislation aimed at mandating electric car chargers for all new residential & commercial development, and 14 pages creating a Stretch Energy Code for residential & commercial construction that will raise the cost of housing while providing diminishing returns on lowering energy use. Some experts in the public utility field expect electric bills to go up by as much as 30% in its initial year of existence.
The bill is promoted as a job creator. However, as one Steamfitter from Peoria aptly stated, The Clean Energy Jobs Act is going to replace lifetime careers with seasonal jobs.
Now is the time to pick up the phone and call state representatives and senators and let them know that the housing components in “The Energy Bill” is devastating to the housing industry and must be deleted or revised prior to passage. A list of legislators with their district phone numbers are listed below. Call one, two, or even all 177, the issues are that important and the General Assembly is not paying attention to homeowners as there are over 900 pages of legislation affecting energy generation while only 28 pages affecting home construction AND remodeling. Here is what to say:
Electric Car Chargers
(Pages 64-78 in HB4074 & SB2896)
The Energy Bill contains language mandating Electric Vehicle Car Chargers for every parking space in new residential construction. A three-car garage will require an additional electric service panel ($1000) and a charger for every parking space ($1050 for each space).
Even if you do not own an electric car (only 2% of us do) you must put a charger in for every parking space. This is not smart and not necessary.
Instead, require each new home to be Electric Vehicle “Capable.” Require home builders to run conduit and electrical wiring from the service panel to the garage and have it capped and ready for the day the homeowner buys an electric car. They will then need to install the correct 50-amp socket that matches the electric car.
Do not require an electric socket at the time of construction. The electric car industry does not have a universal socket and placing a socket in the home will probably require replacing it sometime soon costing consumers even more money.
A new home that is Electric Vehicle “Ready” will cost an extra $4000 and misses the target for what consumers will need now and in the future.
A home that is Electric Vehicle “Capable” will be ready for the day that a homeowner buys an EV and the construction costs for installing chargers will be thousands of dollars less.
Existing Homes are Required to have Chargers, Too.
Existing homes will be required to install EV chargers, too. Homeowners must update their homes with car chargers when their home is renovated. The definition of “Renovated” in all three bills is: Renovated means altered or added where electrical capacity is increased. The renovation of a bathroom or kitchen often requires additional electrical capacity to suit the desires of the homeowner.
Installing chargers in existing homes will be more complicated and costly than installation in a new home. Older homes will need another service panel, the main wire from the utility pole or box will need to be upgraded.
Detached garages are all wired from the home, underground to the garage. Most of the wires go under driveways, and some run under patios and decks.
This will kill remodeling in neighborhoods that truly need renovation.
Stretch Energy Code
(Pages 172-186, HB4074 & SB2896)
The Stretch Energy Code breaks an agreement that the home construction industry has had with the state of Illinois since 2009. New homes are constructed to the most recent Energy Conservation Code published by the International Code Council. Almost every state now has this mandate. The code in Illinois works as a minimum and maximum energy code, with exception to communities that passed local energy codes prior to the passage of the state law.
The code is safeguarded and is enhanced every three years by the International Code Council, the Illinois Energy Conservation Advisory Council, the Capital Development Board, and the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.
The Energy Bill will establish a duplicative body to also oversee energy conservation in construction, the Stretch Energy Code Task Force. The Task Force will operate in the same manner as the Energy Conservation Advisory Council, making recommendations to the CDB on energy standards for residential and commercial construction. Another regulatory body is not needed here.
The SEC would be overlayed into the Energy Conservation Building Act allowing municipalities to go beyond the I-ECC to enforce another code developed by scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richmond, Washington.
Very few municipalities inspect for energy conservation standards. That is because the Illinois Energy Conservation Building Act allows municipalities to not do so. Current law states: If a unit of local government does not regulate energy efficiency building standards, any construction, renovation, or addition to buildings or structures is subject to the provisions contained in this Act (20 ILCS 3125/20 (d).
By placing the Stretch Energy Code into Energy Conservation Building Act, homes across Illinois will be required to build to this code; not just those homes in municipalities that pass an ordinance.
The Stretch Energy Code excludes the use of solar panels and geo-thermal heat pumps as a means for energy conservation. These clean energy alternatives mysteriously take a backseat to other forms of energy conservation even though they can make a serious cut in the use of carbon-generated energy.
The definition of “Site Energy Index” states: A “site energy index” includes only conservation measures and excludes net energy credit for any on-site or off-site energy production. Solar panels and geo-thermal heat pumps are on-site energy producers.
Solar panels can reduce carbon fuel energy costs by $500 per year, and geo-thermal heat pumps can cut your utility bill in half, according to Energysage, an online service that helps homeowners research and shop for solar panels, geo-thermal heat pumps, and other forms of clean energy production.
With the passage of the Consumers & Climate First Act, homeowners will be surprised to see that these forms of clean energy production are demoted within this Act.
We now have less than one week to make our case to the public and to the Illinois General Assembly. It will not get done without your help. Pick up the phone now, call your area legislators and ask them to either Vote No on the Energy Bill or delete the housing component to the Energy Bill so that proper consideration can be given to the 8 million citizens who own homes in Illinois.
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