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Fight over state green building codes heats up

9th Circuit upholds Washington's code requiring new construction to meet increased energy conservation goals

In the first case of its type at the federal appellate level, a 9th Circuit panel in Building Industry Association of Washington et al. v. Washington State Building Code Council upheld on June 25 Washington’s amended building code requiring new construction to meet increased energy conservation goals.

The Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW), along with individual builders and contractors, challenged 2009 amendments to the Washington State Energy Code slated to take effect the following July. The May 2010 complaint contended that the 1975 federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), as amended by the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987 and the Energy Policy Act of 1992, preempted the state code changes.

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One of the conditions upon which the plaintiffs based their appeal says that a state building code cannot require the use of products that exceed the federal energy standards and must provide for alternative ways to reach its energy targets.

Michael Kozubek

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