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  • Nancy Churchill

Got Housing? New Building Codes will deepen the Housing Crisis.

Last week, in “Welcome to the Board”, we discussed boards, their duties and responsibilities (https://bit.ly/3xrcs1n). In addition to the common boards that you are familiar with, like school boards, there are many administrative boards that have been given rule or code making responsibilities by the state legislature. The Washington State Building Code Council (SBCC) is one of these powerful unelected boards (https://bit.ly/3OaBRmL).

The State Building Code Council is the body that creates building codes for new construction. They are currently developing proposed code amendments that will require new residential construction to be all electric. The proposed new codes will force builders to install only electric heat and electric hot water heaters in order to meet goals to reduce the amount of CO2 created. Natural gas or propane will no longer be allowed.


Unfortunately, according to Todd Meyers of the Washington Policy Institute, these requirements for all-electric home construction are based on outdated and inaccurate information from 2019 (https://bit.ly/3OfcYGv). New estimates from electrification advocates show construction costs for electrification makes homes more expensive. Revised energy cost estimates also predict electricity costs will increase only one percent but natural gas costs will actually fall by 7 percent. These updated utility cost projections turn last years’ projected savings into next year’s costs.


Finally, the proposed new rule does nothing to reduce CO2 emissions above what is already legally required. If these new requirements are not adopted, it will make no difference in Washington’s total emissions.


Do you have a place to live?


Unfortunately, the rush to all electric housing will have a very negative impact on the affordability of housing at a time when we are already in a housing crisis. Record inflation, higher building costs, materials shortages, the labor shortage, and raising mortgage rates are all already preventing people from finding affordable housing.


Andrea Smith, policy and research manager in government affairs for the Building Industry Association of Washington, testified to the SBCC Technical Advisory Group that “This means that a fully-electric home would price out 22,000 people in our state,” she said. “We have a housing and homeless crisis right now, and, you know, it’s great that heat pumps allow for cooling, but it’s not so great if you can’t afford to shelter yourself in the first place.” (https://bit.ly/3HgxpAK)


Why is the SBCC mandating the implementation of a building code that will NOT impact CO2, but WILL reduce affordable housing?

It appears that the members of the SBCC don’t care about developing affordable housing. By outlawing the use of affordable and reliable energy sources like hydrocarbons, the climate crisis marxists are creating a new class of slavery, where only the privileged live well, and everyone else suffers in poverty, homelessness, cold, and hunger.


What is the State Building Code Council?


The State Building Code Council was created by the Legislature to develop the building codes used in Washington state. (RCW 19.27.070 (https://bit.ly/3xsiQWe)). In addition to creating state-wide building codes, the SBCC also must approve amendments to local city or county building codes. The effect is that a local jurisdiction cannot weaken a building code, they can only make approved changes – usually to increase restrictions. This is a very powerful board.


The State Building Code Council has 15 voting members which are appointed by the Governor. In the past, these members were state experts in the building industry, but in recent years, Governor Inslee has been appointing “stakeholders” who will push forward his energy transformation policies. Elections matter even more than you realized.


Regaining control


These unelected boards are a bit like a run-away horse… seemingly out of control. But just like a smart horseman can gradually regain control of a powerful but headstrong animal, we-the-people can also gradually regain control of our government. We must be smart, strong, patient, and fearless. Never doubt that we can win the fight against tyranny. Commit to doing your small part to make America great again.


While an out of control government feels like a beast, in reality, it is more like a complicated machine. There are rules, laws, and processes. To fix a machine you grab the manual. Calmly put your thinking cap on, and study the rule making process used by the SBCC and their TAG. These people can be influenced, but you have to understand the rules to plan your next right action. Letters to the board members seem like a good place to start, followed by attending board meetings.


For long term success, we must work elect a Republican majority to the Washington House and Senate, so that we regain the ability to rewrite legislation that gives too much power to unelected bureaucrats without any way to rein in their excesses. Let your representatives know you’re ready for change, and work tirelessly to get Republicans elected in Washington state. I hope to see you at a board meeting soon.


Nancy Churchill is the state committeewoman for the Ferry County Republican Party. She may be reached at DangerousRhetoric@pm.me. The opinions expressed in Dangerous Rhetoric are her own.


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Sources:

(1) Dangerous Rhetoric Substack, Welcome to the board by Nancy Churchill

https://bit.ly/3xrcs1n


(2) Washington State Building Code Council, https://bit.ly/3OaBRmL


(3) Brett Davis, Washington Board Moves Closer to Natural Gas Ban in New Homes, The Center Square Washington, https://bit.ly/3HgxpAK


(4) Washington Policy Center, Proposal to require all electric home construction based on outdated information, by Todd Myers. https://bit.ly/3OfcYGv


(5) RCW 19.27.070 State Building Codes. https://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=19.27


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