On Tuesday, March 13, BATC-Housing First Minnesota sent a letter to the Department of Labor & Industry’s Energy Code TAG Chair asking that the Department reaffirm the existing residential energy code for Minnesota instead of adopting the more costly 2018 International Energy Conversation Code.
In the letter from Executive Director David Siegel, Housing First Minnesota points out that Minnesota’s new homes are performing remarkably well and that in our current Parade of Homes event, more than 60 percent of homes were third-party tested for energy efficiency with an average HERS Index of 51.3, 50 percent better than code. The average existing home is estimated to have a HERS Index of 130, 80 percent less efficient than the new homes built in Minnesota today by our members.
Given the laudable gains in energy efficiency, along with the strong performance of newly built homes, housing affordability becomes a key consideration:
Research shows that for every $1,000 in the increase of a home’s price, 4,000 Minnesota families are priced out of the market.
Homes in Minnesota cost on average 26 percent more than they do in neighboring states, and the Twin Cities is the most expensive housing market in the nation, excluding coastal regions.
The average price differential between new and existing homes in the United States is 30 percent. In Minnesota, the difference is a stunning 68 percent, one of the largest differentials in the nation.
Regulatory costs–local, regional and state–have surged in the last five years, now accounting for up to 30 percent of a new home’s price.
BATC-Housing First Minnesota was granted appointees to four TAGs:
Code Administration TAG: Mike Swanson
Energy Code TAG: Ross Anderson
Residential Building Code TAG: Brent Nygaard
Structural Building Code TAG: Mike Barden
Housing First Minnesota’s staff and TAG appointees have worked to keep affordability front-of-mind during the code update process. In addition to BATC-Housing First Minnesota’s four appointees, Regulatory Affairs Manager Nick Erickson and Political Engagement Manager Mark Foster have attended TAG meetings on behalf of the housing industry.
Once the TAGs complete their work, changes to the various codes will be passed along to the Minnesota Construction Code Advisory Council, which will prepare recommendations for the Commissioner of Labor & industry. Minnesota’s new building codes, after working though the state’s rulemaking process, will go into effect March 2020.
The Department of Labor & Industry is looking to wrap up TAG meetings in the next two weeks.