Noticias

It’s time to update New Mexico’s energy codes

Click here to view original web page at www.santafenewmexican.com


It is sometimes said a good deal is one in which both sides are dissatisfied. Such could be the case with proposed revisions to the New Mexico Energy Efficiency Code for residential and commercial buildings.

On the other hand, those of us occupying the ever-shrinking radical center believe it is a great deal.

There are no national energy codes. What the International Codes Council produces on three-year cycles are known as model codes — meaning states can adopt, amend or ignore them. New Mexico is operating on an amended version of the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code. It ignored the 2012 and 2015 versions. The state is now contemplating adoption of an amended 2018 model code.

Versions of the 2009 model codes were the most widely adopted in the nation's history. That’s because President Barack Obama, a supporter of aggressive energy codes, told states that if they accepted money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act they had to adopt the 2009 codes. States had until 2017 to comply, and virtually all did.

New Mexico was already well ahead of that curve because former Gov. Bill Richardson pushed state regulators to come up with the most progressive energy codes in the country before he left office in 2010. Much to his disappointment, the process ran out of time before he left office.

There was much consternation when he was succeeded by Gov. Susanna Martinez, no fan of energy codes. The fear was a rollback. That’s also when energy efficiency advocates, primarily led by Tammy Fiebelkorn, New Mexico’s representative of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, went head to head with leadership of the New Mexico Home Builders Association.

The fears of a rollback were unfounded and the product that came forward in 2011 was a good one that has served New Mexico well.

The same players were at the table again when discussions began in 2019, but the rancor was turned down a notch or two. That’s partly because most homebuilders in the urban northern Rio Grande corridor are already building as good as or better than what the 2018 version would mandate. It’s also partly because of the moderating influence of Harold Trujillo, the long-serving employee of the state’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resource Department.

New Mexico’s code changes are brought forward by the state’s Construction Industries Division and presented to the Construction Industries Commission for approval, amending or denial. Commissioners are appointed by the governor, and residential construction is allowed one representative, which is currently held by Santa Fe builder James Borrego.

Because Construction Industries Division Bureau Chief Martin Romero, who would normally be at the center of the negotiations, had health issues in 2019, much of the mediation on stickier parts was handled by Trujillo. A native of Mora County and the mayordomo of the Acequia de la Aguila, Trujillo was the perfect person to handle the process. Mayordomos inspire respect, compromise and fairness. Acequia culture is the soul of our state.

What has come forward is sensible compromise. Some may feel unfairly treated, especially those in small, rural communities who are in for a shock at the new rules, but ultimately, consumers will be the beneficiaries.

When the proposed energy efficiency codes arrive in front of the Construction Industries Commission later this year, they should receive unanimous support. Hopefully, Borrego, who has been building his entire long career to Santa Fe’s codes — codes even more stringent than what are proposed for the state — will be the maker of the motion to approve.

Kim Shanahan is a longtime Santa Fe builder and former executive officer of the Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association. Contact him at shanafe@aol.com.

Shanahan
Kim Shanahan Building Santa Fe

It is sometimes said a good deal is one in which both sides are dissatisfied. Such could be the case with proposed revisions to the New Mexico Energy Efficiency Code for residential and commercial buildings.

On the other hand, those of us occupying the ever-shrinking radical center believe it is a great deal.

There are no national energy codes. What the International Codes Council produces on three-year cycles are known as model codes — meaning states can adopt, amend or ignore them. New Mexico is operating on an amended version of the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code. It ignored the 2012 and 2015 versions. The state is now contemplating adoption of an amended 2018 model code.

Versions of the 2009 model codes were the most widely adopted in the nation’s history. That’s because President Barack Obama, a supporter of aggressive energy codes, told states that if they accepted money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act they had to adopt the 2009 codes. States had until 2017 to comply, and virtually all did.

New Mexico was already well ahead of that curve because former Gov. Bill Richardson pushed state regulators to come up with the most progressive energy codes in the country before he left office in 2010. Much to his disappointment, the process ran out of time before he left office.

There was much consternation when he was succeeded by Gov. Susanna Martinez, no fan of energy codes. The fear was a rollback. That’s also when energy efficiency advocates, primarily led by Tammy Fiebelkorn, New Mexico’s representative of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, went head to head with leadership of the New Mexico Home Builders Association.

The fears of a rollback were unfounded and the product that came forward in 2011 was a good one that has served New Mexico well.

The same players were at the table again when discussions began in 2019, but the rancor was turned down a notch or two. That’s partly because most homebuilders in the urban northern Rio Grande corridor are already building as good as or better than what the 2018 version would mandate. It’s also partly because of the moderating influence of Harold Trujillo, the long-serving employee of the state’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resource Department.

New Mexico’s code changes are brought forward by the state’s Construction Industries Division and presented to the Construction Industries Commission for approval, amending or denial. Commissioners are appointed by the governor, and residential construction is allowed one representative, which is currently held by Santa Fe builder James Borrego.

Because Construction Industries Division Bureau Chief Martin Romero, who would normally be at the center of the negotiations, had health issues in 2019, much of the mediation on stickier parts was handled by Trujillo. A native of Mora County and the mayordomo of the Acequia de la Aguila, Trujillo was the perfect person to handle the process. Mayordomos inspire respect, compromise and fairness. Acequia culture is the soul of our state.

What has come forward is sensible compromise. Some may feel unfairly treated, especially those in small, rural communities who are in for a shock at the new rules, but ultimately, consumers will be the beneficiaries.

When the proposed energy efficiency codes arrive in front of the Construction Industries Commission later this year, they should receive unanimous support. Hopefully, Borrego, who has been building his entire long career to Santa Fe’s codes — codes even more stringent than what are proposed for the state — will be the maker of the motion to approve.

Kim Shanahan is a longtime Santa Fe builder and former executive officer of the Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association. Contact him at shanafe@aol.com . Kim Shanahan Building Santa Fe