North Carolina misses chance for cleaner, more affordable, more resilient residential buildings
RALEIGH, NC — The North Carolina General Assembly overrode Governor Cooper’s veto of HB 488 last night, blocking progress toward cleaner, more affordable, more resilient residential buildings in the state for nearly the next decade. The bill effectively freezes the state’s residential building codes, energy codes, plumbing codes and mechanical codes until at least 2031, locking the state into weak, outdated building codes when residents could be reaping the economic and health benefits of a cleaner built environment. And by restructuring the state board responsible for adopting and amending building codes, the bill will make it more difficult to strengthen building codes in the future.
HB 488 also affects North Carolina’s eligibility for certain federal funding that prioritizes states committed to healthier, more efficient homes for their residents, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program, the Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA) $1 billion to support code updates, implementation, and enforcement; and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s (IIJA) $225 million to incentivize the adoption of modern building codes.
The following is a statement from Zach Amittay, E2 Southeast Advocate:
“This decision from the General Assembly means eight years of stagnation for North Carolina’s progress toward healthier, more affordable housing. Residents of new builds deserve to reap the benefits of more efficient and resilient homes with better air quality and lower utility bills–but too many of our state legislators have prioritized industry demands over what’s best for their constituents and our state as a whole. With millions in federal funding from the IRA and IIJA effectively forfeited, this bill is outrageously counterproductive for North Carolina’s economy, resilience, and public health.”
E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) is a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors, and professionals from every sector of the economy who advocate for smart policies that are good for the economy and good for the environment. Our members have founded or funded more than 2,500 companies, created more than 600,000 jobs, and manage more than $100 billion in venture and private equity capital. For more information, see http://www.e2.org or follow us on Twitter at @e2org.