I know that building and energy codes may not sound exciting, but if you’re   looking to make positive change in your community, improving these codes is a great chance to do so.

In December, the Boise City Council will consider updates to the rules for building homes. These building codes set minimum construction standards for normal things like floors, walls and roofs. The codes also require deep insulation, quality windows and sealing of air leaks to make the structures more energy efficient.

By updating codes to current standards, the city of Boise is helping us have safe, affordable homes while reducing future climate pollution. We certainly support the city’s move, and we need you to stand up and show your support as well.

Strong Codes Equal Strong Homes

Codes matter because homes that are well built last longer and use less energy. When you buy a house, new or used, you cannot see whether the builder sealed the air leaks, insulated the walls or installed efficient windows. Correcting these mistakes later is very expensive. You rely on strong codes to make sure that your biggest investment, either buying or renting, is safe, warm and affordable to maintain.

Updating the codes adds a few hundred dollars to the cost of a new home, similar to upgrading kitchen appliances. But the energy you won’t use to heat, cool and light your efficient home will save you about $100 each year for the life of your home.  Strong codes ensure that builders build homes that conserve energy and bring remodeled homes up to current standards. Updating codes to current best practices makes sure that homes built to last for decades conserve as much energy as possible.  By updating codes to current standards, the city of Boise is helping its citizens have safe, affordable homes.

Strong Codes Protect Your Pocketbook, Air Quality and Climate

Most of your home energy bill goes toward heating and cooling. One of the important changes proposed to the Boise codes would require better windows and more insulation in walls and ceilings. Anyone who enjoys spending time outdoors knows that the first step to staying warm is wearing a warm sweater and hat. Likewise, strong codes ensure that your home is cozy.

A well-built home protects all air quality, from inside your home to our climate. One of the major improvements to the codes would be a minimum standard for how much air leaks into and out of your house. Stopping air leaks keeps out cold drafts in the winter and hot air in the summer. Homes use about a third of the electricity and gas we consume. So building homes right from the start directly reduces demand for coal and gas fossil fuels.

The air you breathe every day also has a major influence on health. Sealing air leaks limits outside pollution like wildfire smoke and car exhaust from seeping into your home. We think of our homes as safe places. But when you buy or rent a home, you have no way of knowing whether it is built well. We have to trust in strong codes to protect our indoor air quality and conserve energy overall.

If you’re in Boise and want to take a meaningful step to protect your home, your wallet and our climate, attend the December Boise City Council hearing and  stand up for strong codes.

Support Boise’s Proposal

The city of Boise’s plan is to update the building codes to current best practices. Construction practices and products constantly evolve. So a nationwide group of experts develops model codes every few years. Each update tends to reduce home energy use 10 to 15 percent by improving insulation and windows and guarding against air leakage.

In Idaho, the statewide code process is stuck-energy standards for homes are set at 2009 levels. Boise is standing up and adopting the 2015 codes. We need Boiseans to also stand up and support the city’s leadership.

Along with updating to current energy code levels, Boise is also considering new standards for strawbale and tiny homes. These alternatives are terrific options for building affordable and sustainable homes.

Plan to attend the December public hearing of the Boise City Council. Here are some points to consider in that support:

  • Strong codes set a level playing field for all builders. As a citizen, that gives you security when considering a home purchase or rental.
  • Since you can’t see insulation and air leaks, the city of Boise is helping you know that your home is well built from the start.
  • Strong codes ensure that Boise homes conserve energy and reduce demand for fossil fuels. Thank the city for protecting our homes and our climate.
  • It’s time to update codes to match current best practices. Doing so ensures safe homes for your community and helps conserve energy for everyone.