The Durango city councilors approved less-stringent energy codes for new buildings Tuesday, but they promised more austere rules would be coming in 2017.
Most of the city’s codes for new construction will transition from 2006 to 2012 building codes in January.
But energy codes were the exception, and the city adopted 2009 codes, instead of the 2012 codes that require testing.
However, the board promised to make the 2015 energy codes effective by 2017.
“We aren’t ignoring the problem; we all want a more sustainable planet,” said Mayor Dean Brookie.
Without time for training, it could be a “train wreck” because builders are not ready for the 2012 energy codes, and it could hurt the construction market, said Greg Hoch, director of community development.
However resident Jeff Bork argued the energy efficiency testing is the only effective way to hold builders accountable and protect homeowners from builders that cut corners.
The 2012 energy codes require testing that hold builders accountable to quality insulation and efficiency.
“There is no opportunity to cheat because the testing will discover that,” Bork said.
Blower-door tests depressurize a house to see how much air can make its way into the home through the outlets and around windows and other areas of the home.
Duct-blaster testing measures how much the heating and cooling ducts in the house are leaking, if at all.
He also argued the cost of the testing was not as onerous as others claimed and the savings in the long term would pay off for homeowners.
However, the market is not ready because many of the builders are facing a shortage of skilled labor and need time to educate themselves on the code, Hoch said.
The energy testing could come late in the building process, and if builders are not ready, they could fail right before a family is ready to move in.
If the builder failed, it could mean tearing into the newly finished home, he said.