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Housing First Minnesota has asked the Roslyn Robertson, temporary commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry to concur with a judicial recommendation to not open rulemaking on the residential energy code.
The request comes one week after Administrative Judge Eric Lipman issued his non-binding opinion on that matter and nearly three years since the State of Minnesota began its code process in January of 2018.
In a letter sent to Commissioner Robertson on Thursday, Oct. 8, Housing First Minnesota reiterated its commitment to preparing a performance path option for builders should the commissioner not open rulemaking.
Should the commissioner choose to open rulemaking, it would be a lengthy process and in all likelihood, the new energy code would come mid-way through the current code cycle that went into effect in March of this year.
Full text of the letter is available below:
Judge Lipman’s recent recommendation against a mid-cycle rulemaking process on Chapter 1322 of the state’s building code has brought an important clarity to Minnesota’s energy code discussion. Housing First Minnesota has long advocated for balanced regulatory decisions that fully consider the perspectives of resource protection, end-user cost, and practical implementation. Judge Lipman’s process and conclusion achieves this necessary balance. Housing First Minnesota respectfully requests your concurrence with this recommendation to not enter into a mid-cycle revision of the energy code.
Importantly, Judge Lipman’s comments about mid-cycle revisions to the building code are shared by homebuilders and code officials across the state:
“Because of the impact that a “mid-cycle” code revision could have on compliance, particularly in those communities where there is no local code enforcement system, near-term changes to the Model Energy Code are not recommended.”
In all likelihood, given substantial limitations on in-person meetings during the ongoing pandemic, the required technical review and subsequent durability analysis and hearings, it could be another 18 months or longer before a new energy code would be ready.
Housing First Minnesota reiterates its call for concurrence with Judge Lipman’s recommendation and stands ready to contribute to balanced, innovative approaches to energy efficiency in new homes and remodeling projects. Please contact me if you have any questions regarding our comments or if you would like to further discuss this matter.
During the Department’s Technical Advisory Group process in 2018, Housing First Minnesota pledged that our organization would prepare and deliver an energy performance path option. This performance path will advance and usher innovations to achieve greater energy efficiency, consistent with Judge Lipman’s call for industry innovation. Our construction and energy efficiency experts are in the final stages of assembling this and we look forward to sharing it with the Department’s technical staff later this year.Housing First Minnesota Letter to DLI.