Why the Gas Stove Debate Misses the Point

The debate over gas stoves blew up—no pun intended—in the week, but Daniel C. Vock argues that the focus on appli­ances over­shad­ows oth­er ways that build­ing can pro­mote effi­cien­cy. “Just revis­ing the gov­ern­ing ener­gy use in new con­struc­tion can lead to siz­able reduc­tions in air pol­lu­tion, advo­cates say, not to men­tion low­er bills and a more com­fort­able envi­ron­ment for the peo­ple who and in the build­ings.”

Accord­ing to Vock, “The fed­er­al Ener­gy Depart­ment esti­mates that if every state adopt­ed the most recent mod­el build­ing codes for com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties, it could reduce car­bon diox­ide pol­lu­tion by 900 mil­lion met­ric tons by 2040.” The newest codes require insu­la­tion, more effi­cient equip­ment, bet­ter light­ing, and oth­er changes that low­er green­house gas emis­sions and often don’t add to con­struc­tion costs.

from the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act (IRA) can help move toward updat­ing their codes, Vock writes. “For exam­ple, the law pro­vides $330 mil­lion in grants to state and local gov­ern­ments to adopt the res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial codes. It sets aside more than twice that amount of —$670 million—to devel­op ‘stretch codes’ that local gov­ern­ments can impose to devel­op ‘zero-ener­gy’ build­ings that pro­duce enough renew­able ener­gy to off­set their core ener­gy use.”

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