Jul 7, 2022
The following op-ed was published in The Daily Camera.
This past session, as the clock wound down on our time to pass impactful and progressive legislation for the state of Colorado, one of my last bills still on the table was HB22-1362. Despite significant initial opposition, I worked with my fellow lawmakers in the House and Senate and a broad array of community and industry leaders to ensure it made it to the Governor’s desk. I did this because I know that all Coloradans deserve homes and buildings that are efficient, resilient, healthy and ready for the future.
While there has been a lot of press about the end of session and the vote on this bill, I wanted to share what the bill does for our communities. HB22-1362 saves residents and businesses money by building right the first time. A home or commercial building is a huge, long-term investment, and building more energy efficient buildings means residents and businesses save money on utility bills and other associated costs over the lifetime of the building or home. By building right the first time, we avoid expensive retrofits for electric vehicle charging, clean heat and solar energy. Especially now when so many car manufacturers, including Ford, will be phasing out production of gas-powered vehicles over the next decade. The cost savings, especially during a time when the cost of fuel is continuing to rise, can be a huge benefit to homeowners and businesses.
In addition to saving consumers time and money, this legislation also protects our environment. Buildings are a significant source of pollution, and increasingly we are learning that indoor air pollution can be significant to residents, especially for lower income communities. Brief exposures to these indoor pollutants can trigger asthma attacks and long-term exposure can contribute to development of sustained asthma. Burning fossil fuels indoors will be the “lead paint in buildings” catastrophe in the years to come.
By law, it’s the responsibility of local governments to adopt and enforce building energy codes, but the Colorado legislature has the responsibility to set minimum energy efficiency requirements for the local energy codes that apply statewide. Every few years the legislature examines these statewide codes to ensure they meet the modern standard for building quality homes and businesses. In addition to updating the code, HB22-1362 also provides money and resources for local governments to implement the codes. Finally, owners and occupants of existing homes and buildings are not affected until the home or building undergoes a major renovation or addition. I am so proud that several days ago the Governor signed this bill into law.
Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions about this law, other legislation, or issues you are having in your community.
Rep. Tracey Bernett is a Democrat representing District 12, Boulder County