Homebuilders’ Association Loses, Environment Wins
LANSING, MI — The Ingham County [Michigan] Circuit Court has ruled in favor of the state of Michigan, dismissing a challenge from the Michigan Association of Home Builders (MAHB) that sought to prevent energy-efficiency requirements for new homes. According to the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA), “The new, energy-efficient code, adopted in 2004, had been in limbo due to legal maneuvering by the MAHB, which used the state’s legal system to circumvent the comprehensive administrative process that led to the adoption of a new, more energy efficient code. As a result, Michigan residents lost years of potential energy savings, totaling tens of millions of dollars and contributing to increased releases of environmental pollutants.”
The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth (DLEG) is the state agency empowered to enforce building codes. According to the MEEA, “The Court found, contrary to MAHB’s arguments, that DLEG’s broad statutory authority authorized the agency to incorporate as many provisions of the International Residential Code as the agency found to result in cost-efficient updates to the rules. The October 22nd ruling by the Circuit Court lifts the injunction and dismisses the MAHB case, thereby enacting the new, more energy-efficient code.” The Michigan case is just the latest example of short-sighted attempts by a home builders’ association to erect roadblocks to cost-effective energy-efficiency measures.