Public Comments for 01/28/2021 General Laws - Housing/Consumer Protection Subcommittee
HB2014 - Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act; landlord's acceptance of rent with reservation.
Last Name: Dunn Locality: Arlington

I live in Arlington, as well as, owning two rental units in Arlington VA and I fully support HB2014. It is unconscionable to treat tenants the way I am legally allowed to treat them. I do understand the hardship and difficulty of owning units and the risk involved, however, if I can't accept that risk and treat tenants with respect, I should get out of the landlord business. Say yes to HB2014.

Last Name: Coleman Organization: Tenants Right's Locality: Richmond City

Our voices need to be heard. We need and should have laws put in place to protect us from governed, local entities. It's our right to be heard..to be the voice to the voiceless. We're human beings who have much to say and would like to stand up and be heard. At least we'll know we have a part in any decision making that will affect us now and in the near future.

Last Name: Pannabecker Locality: Montgomery County, Blacksburg

I urge you to support and move forward for a vote: House Bill 2014 - Price - Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act; landlord's acceptance of rent with reservation. HB2014 would prohibit a landlord from accepting full payment of all rent that is overdue from a tenant and receiving an order of possession pursuant to an unlawful detainer action and proceeding with eviction. Especially during the COVID-19 Pandemic, legislation such as this provides necessary protections for tenants during this time. During these uncertain times, tenants need more protections now and this is a critical bill to pass.

Last Name: Green Organization: DSA Housing Justice in Charlottesville Locality: Charlottesville

Mr. Chairman and Delegates, The team of the DSA community organizers in Charlottesville, on behalf of the hundreds of tenants we have met over the course of this pandemic, would like to endorse HB2014. We have seen so many barriers to timely relief being afforded to tenants who have lost income due to Covid by no fault of their own, and it their rights are almost always further jeopardized by landlords or management companies delaying dismissing their cases. In fact in the pandemic numerous management companies keep eviction court proceedings going here in Charlottesville even after a tenant has paid up on their rent, as a form of blackmail for them to pay rent on time each month. This is disruptive to employment and education when tenants are made to go to unnecessary court hearings, for fear of being evicted even after paying their missed rent and their credit and public record being damaged. Without right to council, low-income tenants in this position are being mistreated by our legal system, which is suppose to provide justice to all members of the Commonwealth, so on behalf of the DSA volunteers and the hundreds of tenants we speak with, I ask that you pass HB2014. Thank you.

Last Name: Trost Organization: None Locality: Chesterfield

I write in support of HB2014. While I have not personally been impacted by eviction of threats of such, I believe that individuals and families are put at greater risk of homelessness and other harmful consequences when they are not allowed the “right to redeem,” paying rent and other fees in full, more than once per 12 month period. The burdens and barriers faced by low-income people are incredibly difficult to overcome. Worse, they have been compounded by the pandemic, which has led to unemployment and income loss that have disproportionately impacted those with the least ability and resources to financial crises. By denying renters the ability to “catch up” on rent if they already had to do so within the last 12 months is unnecessarily cruel and appears to be one way that landlords, who have much greater lobbying power and ability to “write the rules,” create terms that disadvantage struggling individuals and families. Evictions are devastating for families and communities, uprooting children from schools and breaking bonds between neighbors that can help provide stability, offer support and reduce crime. We also know that people of color are more likely to be renters than homeowners, making this bill even more important for these demographic groups. For a detailed account of the tragedies associated with eviction and the intimate details of families who are living on the margins of society, I recommend Matthew Desmond’s book, Evicted. I urge support for HB2014; please provide opportunities, or at least one less obstacle, for those who are fighting to survive within a system that can be frustrating, demoralizing, destructive and designed for their failure.

Last Name: Occident Locality: Chesterfield

We absolutely need this bill. As an acquaintance recently explained to me-- We know that the compressed timeline in Virginia gives tenants little or no time to muster resources (public and private). More importantly, it gives them the right to pay and stay in their homes. In interviews with residents over the past 2 years with the RVA Eviction Lab, we find that low- and moderate-income households are already carefully balancing budgets and resources. But income instability can accelerate housing instability without laws like this. Housing instability helps no one - not the family directly impacted or the community/city/school where those individuals live, work and learn. If there is not an incentive to pay because tenets can still be evicted, and these tenets will need the money for their next apartment anyways, then we are setting everyone up for failure. Please support HB2014--the benefits to our community would be enormous.

Last Name: Washington Locality: Richmond

Hello my name is Melissa I am currently on disability every apartment complex that I have. Visited theirs a list a lot of places that's being built around the city of Richmond it's not affordable even the ones they claim are affordable its not. I only receive 800 a month. The majority of apartments starts at 800. It a bad neighborhood . housing is not livable

Last Name: Duong Locality: Loudoun

According to Eviction Lab, which is a group of researchers that specialize in studying housing and eviction, Virginia scores a pathetic 0.5 out of 5 stars on their COVID-19 Housing Policy Scorecard. In 2016, 5 of the top 10 cities with the highest eviction rates were in Virginia. Evictions are a modern scarlet letter that follow many renters for years after the original eviction, as many landlords keep and share eviction registries with one another. This means that those who have been evicted are shadowed by it and often denied all rental units except for those that are severely dilapidated or located in places far from work opportunities and amenities. Further research finds that this issue affects people of all colors, but it disproportionately impacts poor and working people of color. HB 2014 is a small step to remedying Virginia's unusually harsh and punitive laws against renters. It is baffling that a tenant could come up with the full payment and still be a victim of eviction and forcibly removed from their home and community. As our nation grapples with a devastating pandemic, people across the country and Virginia have come together to support one another. We've formed mutual aid networks, distributed food and clothing, donating to one another's gofundme's for rent money and medical bills. To the members of the Virginia House of Delegates, I ask that if you consider yourself a Virginian, that your actions reflect that of a person who cares about their fellow Virginians. I ask that you vote for this bill that brings us a step closer to remedying the grotesque state of tenant rights in Virginia, and that can help stabilize the housing situation for our many renters.

HB2175 - Homeowners and tenants of manufactured home parks; housing protections, foreclosures, liens, etc.
Last Name: Bruning Organization: Virginia Bankers Association Locality: Glen Allen

Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, Matt Bruning with the Virginia Bankers Association. We appreciate the work of the patron and the Virginia Poverty Law Center and their collective willingness to work with lenders in constructing this bill. Virginia banks understand the importance of encouraging stable housing, no more so than during this ongoing public health crisis. Lenders don’t make home loans with the expectation that the borrower will not be able to repay their debt. Unfortunately, there are times when that occurs and foreclosure is the lenders’ last means of collecting on the debt. It is important that when those circumstances arise, the process is efficient to enable borrowers to move forward with securing other housing options and for the overall housing market to remain stable and accessible for all borrowers. This proposal adds clarity to the foreclosure process, ensures transparency and access to information, and protects homeowners from having their homes being forced to sale for small amounts of unsecured debt. We believe it strikes the appropriate balance of strengthening consumer’s ability and time to fully understand the process and their options prior to a foreclosure sale without significantly complicating or unnecessarily extending the process to the determinant of the secured lender. We are pleased that much of the input the VBA provided throughout the process is incorporated in the substitute before the Committee. In acknowledgement of the productive negotiations with the stakeholders resulting in the bill before you, we are pleased to support the bill as presented and encourage its passage.

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

May not agree with everything in here, but at least someone is thinking of the mobile home folks. They were left out in a # of CARES acts items.

Last Name: Williams Organization: Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia Locality: Richmond

My name is Sha’ri Williams, and I am a Senior Housing Specialist for Foreclosure Prevention. I assist homeowners by assessing their financial situation, I evaluate their options and assist homeowners with understanding their options with loan modifications. I also develop a plan to assist homeowners with either retaining the property or liquidating the property. The Preserving the American Dream Act bill will allow homeowners enough time to request mortgage assistance as 14 days prior to the sale date is not enough time to seek assistance and apply for mortgage assistance. Most lenders require a modification application in office and under review 37 days prior to the sale date. If a client is unaware of a pending sale until receiving notice 14 days prior to sale, then they have already missed the deadline to apply for mortgage assistance. What we have been noticing is that clients lose communication with lenders or were not informed of any sale dates by lender representatives and only find out about the date when they receive notice posted on their doors or in the mail and the sale date is like the very next week. They panic and then they begin to search for assistance via internet and that is how they come across a housing counseling organization. My hopes are that with the extension of the foreclosure sale notice time that we will be able to serve more clients and provide mortgage assistance help.

HB2227 - Uniform Statewide Building Code; amendments, energy efficiency and conservation.
Last Name: Shippee Organization: Sierra Club Locality: Henrico

HB2227: Sierra Club does not support the substitute passed by the Subcommittee but would support an amended bill that makes clear that the Board shall adopt standards that are shown to save occupants energy and costs.

Last Name: Medford Organization: Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce Locality: Tysons

Mr. Chair, Members of the Subcommittee, Thank you for considering my comments. My name is Clayton Medford and I am writing on behalf of the Northern Virginia Chamber’s 700 members and close to 500,000 employees in opposition to this bill. While we understand the reason behind the bill and are supportive of more energy efficient buildings, we believe the market has already dictated that through tenant demand. Creating a local option in the building code would undermine the uniformity of the code on which the industry relies and would also limit, via increased costs and delays, the ability for building owners to make needed improvements. Any new costs would like be borne by the tenants as well, which is counter to many initiatives by the General Assembly to reduce the burden on tenants during the pandemic and economic recovery. Thank you.

Last Name: Penniman Locality: Reston

Delegate Kory’s bill HB2227 is a critical consumer protection measure that will benefit both homeowners and tenants for decades. It will also reduce climate and other unhealthy pollution and the need for the Commonwealth and its utilities to continue spending on efficiency retrofits to poorly insulated buildings. I actively participated in the Building Code process during 2020. It is clear that the Board of Housing and Community Development does not implement Virginia’s existing legal requirement that the building code “shall be such as to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the Commonwealth, provided that buildings and structures should be permitted to be constructed, rehabilitated and maintained at the least possible cost consistent with recognized standards of health, safety, energy conservation and water conservation….” Although BHCD purports to “consider” the IECC’s recognized efficiency standards, BHCD’s process and its members’ leanings allow home builders to block consistency with IECC standards for energy conservation, including ones that clearly would protect residents. Virginia has still not implemented key standards in the 2012, 2015 and 2018 IECC standards, which the U.S. Department of Energy found would save residents money (in effect, earn a profit) every year even after taking into account additional mortgage and other expenses. Del. Kory’s bill would explicitly requiring timely implementation of energy conservation standards that are at least as stringent as those promulgated by the IECC’s national energy conservation standards, which the BHCD has already recognized as the relevant model. The standards might be written to achieve the energy-saving results in a different manner, but residents would still have to be protected. Without such legislation, residents will continue to be harmed by low energy conservation standards, which may never become “consistent with recognized standards...of energy conservation.” Setting clear standards for agencies is not micromanaging; it is what the legislators are supposed to do. The General Assembly is not supposed to give unelected officials and unappointed work groups free range establishing building codes however they like. A substitute bill that would merely restate that BHCD must “consider” the IECC’s energy conservation standards would continue the status quo and do nothing to protect residents. According to Consumers Union, over 80% of Americans believe that “homeowners should have a right to a home that meets national energy standards.” It is unfair for Virginians to continue getting less. Maryland has required timely adoption and implementation of the IECC or stronger measures for over a decade and its residents can by better houses in the same price ranges as in Virginia.

Last Name: Clewett Organization: Lewinsville Faith in Action Locality: Fairfax County

Please DOCKET and SUPPORT HB2227, so that Virginia follows the latest national energy efficiency standards for new residential construction. It deserves a hearing and a favorable vote. A specious argument has been made that HB2227 would somehow force the legislature to determine building codes, but this is a red herring. The legislature must simply choose which of two options should be the basis for Virginia's building codes: ––> A. Follow the modern code developed by experts as a national standard, and thereby conserve energy, save ratepayers money, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions; or ––> B. Continue the broken system where a captive agency beholden to the homebuilder lobby leaves Virginia backward, at great cost to homeowners and the climate. The choice should be clear: to help build a clean economy by following the latest standards, like Maryland and other states do. Please docket and support HB2227.

Last Name: Morrow Locality: McLean

I urge the committee to adopt HB2227, a bill that would require adoption of the energy efficiency provisions of the latest national standards (International Energy Efficiency Code, IECC) for new residential construction within one year of their promulgation by the International Code Council. Amending the Building Code to bring it up to the national energy efficiency standards will save both buyers and tenants money on energy bills, reduce demand for energy generation and associated carbon emissions, and help minimize the impacts of climate change in the Commonwealth. This energy use and related greenhouse gas emissions can be substantially reduced through implementation of the up-to-date provisions for insulation and air infiltration of the current International Energy Conservation Code, the model code on which the Virginia Uniform State-wide Building Code is based. Adoption of the most recent IECC provisions will increase the energy efficiency of new construction by more than 30%. Energy savings would reduce the energy burden particularly for communities of color and low-income homeowners and renters who experience disproportionately high energy costs from poor energy efficiency. Reduction of GHG emissions will contribute to public safety through mitigation of the impacts of climate change such as wind and flood associated with extreme weather including hurricanes.

Last Name: Lang Organization: Virginia Democracy Forward; We of Action Locality: Arlington

I write to urge you to pass HB2227. This Bill will bring VA's residential building code up to the energy efficiency standards up-to-date. I attended a meeting in the fall hosted by the Board of Housing and Community Development regarding updating the current code. We attendees tried to work "through the system" to improve the code but the BHCD requires unanimous recommendations from its working group before it agrees to adopt changes and many, many of the recommendations of those of us working to combat climate change were not adopted. VA's code lags years behind nationally-recognized standards (i.e., the International Energy Efficiency Code). We are not trying to go BEYOND the current standards; we are just trying to bring Virginia UP TO the current standards. Bills would be lower for consumers and the carbon emissions from energy consumption would drop. These are both extraordinarily positive outcomes. Opponents of updating the Code suggest that the additional cost is not worth it. But studies show these costs are offset by ears of lower energy costs and pollution. Please pass HB2227. Annette Lang, Arlington, VA

Last Name: Wiley Organization: Virginia Grassroots Coalition Locality: Alexandria

I'm very concerned that Virginia's old-fashioned construction practices are a big contributor to climate change, are wasteful of precious energy, and also promote economic inequality and stifling barriers to opportunity by imposing high energy costs on low-income people. Please urgently pass HD2227, Increasing Energy Efficiency in New Residential Construction. The old building codes are outdated because they short-sightedly consider only short-term costs. These costs of increasing energy efficiency in the residential sector are quickly offset by savings to new homeowners and protections to the health of people and the planet. Utility costs are a major contributor to poverty and an equitable society will take necessary steps to reduce these costs in ways that protect the environment, such as through implementation of the modern provisions for insulation and air infiltration called for by the International Energy Efficiency Code. I urge you to make Virginia's residential sector a leader in common-sense energy efficiency by enacting HB2227.

Last Name: Cook Organization: Virginia Grassroots Coalition/Virginia Democracy Forward Locality: Fairfax County

I urge the Committee to adopt the energy efficiency provisions of the latest national standards for new residential construction.  The energy efficiency standards for residential construction in the Virginia Uniform State-wide Building Code should protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the Commonwealth consistent with the standards of health, safety, energy conservation and water conservation.  Buildings consume 52 percent of Virginia’s energy and our homes consume 25 percent. This energy use and related greenhouse gas emissions can be greatly reduced through up-to-date provisions for insulation and air infiltration.

Last Name: Smith Organization: Myself Locality: Reston

I support HB2227 Improving Energy Efficiency in New Residential Construction. The Energy efficiency provisions of the latest national standards (International Energy Efficiency Code, IECC) for new residential construction benefits residents of Virginia now and into the future (houses remain long after the original owner leaves). It is not only is a way to reduce the energy use and related greenhouse gas emissions -- it is also a way to ensure residents are not burning through income that they could use for better purposes such as tuition savings, family activities, retirement savings, etc. Strong standards for energy conservation should be a no-brainer in a world with escalating climate emergencies every year and average temperatures that grow upwards year after year. Vote for the next generation please with a vote for this bill.

Last Name: Shutler Organization: Virginia Grassroots Coalition Locality: Arlington

On behalf of the Virginia Grassroots Coalition, a coalition comprised of over 50 Indivisible, Swing Left, and other organizations across the Commonwealth, I urge the Committee to adopt HB2227, a bill that would require adoption of the energy efficiency provisions of the latest national standards (International Energy Efficiency Code, IECC) for new residential construction within one year of their promulgation by the International Code Council. Shockingly, the most critical energy efficiency standards for residential construction in the Virginia Uniform State-wide Building Code lag a full decade behind these nationally and Virginia - recognized standards. Amending the Building Code to bring it up to the national energy efficiency standards will save both buyers and tenants money on energy bills, reduce demand for energy generation and associated carbon emissions, and help minimize the impacts of climate change in the Commonwealth. Buildings consume 52% of Virginia’s energy as reported by the US Energy Information Administration - homes consume 25% of that amount. We can substantially reduce energy use and related greenhouse gas emissions through implementation of the up-to-date provisions for insulation and air infiltration of the IECC which will increase the energy efficiency of new construction by more than 30%! Energy savings would reduce the utility bills which are particularly burdensome for communities of color and low-income homeowners and renters who experience disproportionately high energy costs from poor energy efficiency. Reduction of GHG emissions will contribute to public safety through mitigation of the impacts of climate change such as wing and flood associated with extreme weather including hurricanes. The Virginia Home Builders Association argues that energy efficiency adds costs to home construction, ignoring overwhelming evidence that these costs are quickly offset by years of lower energy costs and pollution to residents and society at large. If Virginia had fully adopted the 2012 IECC, new homeowners would (1) save $5,836 in utility costs over 30 years and (2) achieve net savings from the first month of occupancy even after accounting for an increase in mortgage costs. U.S. DOE Report. Legislation is needed now to assure timely adoption and implementation of nationally recognized energy efficiency standards for residential construction. Thank you. Sharon Shutler, Chair, Climate & Clean Energy Working Group, Virginia Grassroots Coalition

Last Name: Penniman Organization: See comments Locality: Reston

I urge you to approve HB2227 as proposed. I have spent most of the past year working (with the Sierra Club and others) in the administrative process to update Virginia’s Building Code. It does not function, as intended, to protect residents and consumers. Virginia’s building code statute must be revised to set a floor for strong energy efficiency requirements for residential construction and for renovations. The proposed legislation would not alter the Virginia’s decision to use the International Energy Conservation Code as its source for standards. It would only stop Virginia’s code from being weaker than the IECC, which the Board of Housing and Community Development (BHCD) has permitted in violation of the existing law’s intent. BHCD, which promulgates the code, does not follow existing law. As a result, Virginia’s building code is and will stay years behind recognized energy conservation codes. Virginia law (Section 36.99) states that “The provisions of the Building Code and modifications thereof shall be such as to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the Commonwealth, provided that buildings and structures should be permitted to be constructed, rehabilitated and maintained at the least possible cost consistent with recognized standards of health, safety, energy conservation and water conservation….” However, through its “work group” process, BHCD allows homebuilders to block compliance with the nationally recognized code, rather than offer better ways to meet or exceed the IECC’s requirements. As a result, (a) Virginia’s homeowners and tenants pay higher utility costs every year for decades; (b) those lost savings far exceed the avoided construction costs and incremental mortgage costs; (c) the higher occupancy costs particularly burden low-income residents, raising risks of defaults on leases and loans and of diverting limited funds from food and other essentials; and (d) avoidable climate pollution and other pollution will harm all Virginians. The private and public harms from poor initial construction will extend for the 70+ year life of new buildings. Maryland homebuilders can meet the full IECC requirements while achieving the same total construction costs. According to Consumers Union, over 80% of Americans believe that “homeowners should have a right to a home that meets national energy standards.” It is unfair for Virginians to get less.

Last Name: Pien Organization: Loudoun Climate Project, Sierra Club, Great Falls Group, Earth Justice Team Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun, VA Grassroots Coalition Locality: Leesburg

Hello members of the House General Laws & Technology Committee. My name is Natalie Pien, from Leesburg, VA. I am the current President of the Loudoun Climate Project as well as a member of Earth Rise Indivisible with members across the Commonwealth. I also co-chair the Earth Justice Team at my church. Background/Problem The energy efficiency standards for residential construction in the Virginia Uniform State-wide Building Code lag many years behind these nationally and Virginia - recognized standards. Buildings last 70 years and if not built with modern energy efficient features, home owner utility monthly utility bills will be higher than necessary and the home will be uncomfortable. Higher utility bills impacts lower income communities, frequently of color, more because utility bills are a higher percentage of monthly income, “Energy Burden.” This is an environmental justice problem, too, since it affects communities of color. Buildings contribute to climate change in many different ways: • Buildings and their construction together account for 36 percent of global energy use and 39 percent of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions annually, according to the United Nations Environment Program. • buildings are responsible for about 40% of global energy use and 30% of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United Nations Environment Program. • In the United States, residential and commercial buildings account for 40 percent of energy consumption, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. • Globally, building operations account for about 28 percent of emissions annually • To meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, built environment’s energy intensity—a measure of how much energy buildings use—will have to improve by 30 percent by 2030, according to UN Environment. • Carbon emissions related to buildings are expected to double by 2050 if action at scale doesn’t occur. Solution/details HB2227 would require adoption of the energy efficiency provisions of the latest national standards (International Energy Efficiency Code, IECC) for new residential construction within one year of their promulgation by the International Code CouncilAmending the Building Code to bring it up to the national energy efficiency standards will: • will increase the energy efficiency of new construction by more than 30%. • save both buyers and tenants money on energy bills, • save $5,836 in utility costs over 30 years and (2) achieve net savings from the first month of occupancy even after accounting for an increase in mortgage costs. U.S. DOE Report. • reduce demand for energy generation and associated carbon emissions, • and help minimize the impacts of climate change in the Commonwealth. My Ask: I urge you to support HB 2227. Please let me know if you have any questions. My affiliated organizations and I count on your support. Thank you for your attention to this important matter. Very sincerely, Natalie Pien 20644 Gleedsville Rd Leesburg, VA 20175 Natcpien1@gmail.com 703 963 3573

Last Name: Haines Locality: Vienna

I ask that you vote YES on HB2227. Improving energy efficiency is low-hanging fruit in the challenge to meet out future energy needs. It is beyond incomprehensible that Virginia is doing so poorly in this segment, with residential construction in the Virginia State-wide Building Code lagging many years behind recognized national standards. Amend the Building Code and thank yourselves later for showing such foresight! Thank you for your consideration, Meredith Haines.

Last Name: Byer Organization: Climate and Clean Energy Working Group Locality: Arlington

I believe it is essential that the Committee adopts HB2227, a bill that would require adoption of the energy efficiency provisions of the latest national standards (International Energy Efficiency Code, IECC) for new residential construction within one year of their promulgation by the International Code Council. How is it that the energy efficiency standards for residential construction are so far behind the national standards? I have grown up in Arlington my whole life in the same house and our energy bills are extremely high due to the poor insulation of the house. These prices are absurd and it is even more expensive to repair. By adopting the most recent IECC provisions, energy efficiency of new residential construction will increase by more than 30%, saving homeowners $5,836 in utility costs over 30 years. Legislation is needed now to assure timely adoption and implementation of nationally recognized energy efficiency standards for residential construction. Failing to act would (1) undermine the public’s welfare and the Governor’s and Legislature’s policies to reduce carbon emissions and (2) continue to burden residents, including low-income families, with high energy costs. Do the right thing and adopt HB2227!

Last Name: Fox Organization: representing myself as a Virginian Locality: Alexandria

I write in support of Energy Efficiency in Residential Building Codes (HB2227 / SB 1224) Growing up in a drafty poorly insulated house in North Springfield, VA, I just assumed my house was badly insulated because my family was lower-income. I remember in the winter, the heat would run almost continually – only minutes after the system did its work, the heat would flow through the walls and the heater would click on again. Turns out, I have learned years later, mediocre insulation is actually a common issue across the state. That’s why I ask for your support of a bill to increase housing energy efficiency (specifically in new home construction.) When we think about how to find a practical way to fight climate change and lower our state’s wasteful energy usage, the wasted energy in our buildings is an enormous part of the problem. This bill tackles that. Virginia’s residential building code lags about a decade behind nationally energy efficiency standards for residential construction. The bill would amend state law to bring the building code up to national standards, which will save buyers and tenants on energy bills, reduce demand for energy generation and carbon emissions, and mitigate the impacts of climate change. This is an environmental justice issue, because we need to cut residential cooling and heating waste. And it’s also a social justice issue. If we reduce low-income people’s energy burdens, it will help control high housing costs (and the cost of living in a poorly insulated home.) The bill would require adoption of the energy efficiency provisions of the latest International Energy Efficiency Code (IECC) for new residential construction within one year of their promulgation by the International Code Council (ICC) and enforcement six months later. (The IECC is a national standard, recognized by Virginia & updated every three years.) Energy-efficiency is a big selling point in real estate. Saving hundreds of dollars a year, for several years, represents real, long-term financial savings for residents. And with cities putting forward ambitious climate action plans, legislation like this is one important way that the state could work with local municipalities to meet their climate change mitigation goals. This legislation would really make a difference. To sum up, this bill would: -Lower utility bills for homeowners and renters, saving some home-owners thousands of dollars over the course of years. -Address the problem of low-income residents and communities of color experiencing disproportionately high energy costs from poorly insulated rental homes. Thank you for your consideration. Abby Fox Alexandria, VA

Last Name: Kent Locality: Great Falls

I am writing to ask the Committee to Report HB2227, Uniform Statewide Building Code; amendments; energy efficiency and conservation for a vote by the full House of Delegates. The Commonwealth of Virginia is far behind other states regarding energy efficient building codes. I have some personal experience on this topic; having purchased a house built to Virginia requirements and then noticing the high energy consumption (number of Kwh) on our monthly bills, we hired a firm to perform an energy audit. The result was essentially a grade of “F” on the insulation capabilities of the house. Retro-fitting, something we would not have had to undertake had the Virginia code been up to normal standards, was initiated. Since then we calculate by the difference in energy consumption that we are saving over $100 per month in energy bills. It is clear that the current process for setting these codes is working contrary to the economic interest of homeowners in Virginia and should be changed as called for in this bill. It is particularly burdensome on lower-income families. Further, they undercut the ability of the state to meet its goals for reducing carbon emissions.

Last Name: Nawaz Organization: Virginia Democracy Forward Locality: McLean

Dear Delegate, I’m writing to urge the Committee to adopt HB2227. This bill addresses a significant issue with existing residential building codes in Virginia – which is that they lag significantly behind national standards. In some aspects of energy efficiency that have the biggest impact on energy savings (such as wall insulation), the Virginia standards date to 2009. Amending the code to bring it up to the national energy efficiency standards will save both buyers and tenants money on energy bills, reduce demand for energy generation and associated carbon emissions, and help minimize the impacts of climate change in the Commonwealth. HB 2227 will require adoption of the energy efficiency provisions of the latest national standards (International Energy Efficiency Code, IECC) for new residential construction within one year of their promulgation by the International Code Council. I urge you to support this bill for several reasons: • It will save energy. Buildings consume 52% of Virginia’s energy – and adoption of the most recent IECC provisions will increase the energy efficiency of new construction by more than 30%. • It will save money for homeowners and renters. Energy savings will reduce the energy burden (portion of income that goes towards energy bills) particularly for communities of color and low-income homeowners and renters. Opponents of the bill argue that energy efficiency makes housing more expensive, ignoring that those improvements have a payback period of about 1.5 years (according to the US Department of Energy). If Virginia had fully adopted the 2012 IECC, new homeowners would (1) save $5,836 in utility costs over 30 years and (2) achieve net savings from the first month of occupancy even after accounting for an increase in mortgage costs. U.S. DOE Report. • It will contribute to improved public safety through the mitigation of impacts of climate change, from flooding, hurricanes and other events made more intense and more frequent by climate change. • Lastly, it supports the fundamental purpose of the statewide code, which is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the Commonwealth consistent with recognized standards of health, safety, energy conservation and water conservation. Legislation is needed now to assure timely adoption and implementation of nationally recognized energy efficiency standards for residential construction. Failing to act would (1) undermine the public’s welfare and the Governor’s and Legislature’s policies to reduce carbon emissions and (2) continue to burden residents, including low-income families, with high energy costs. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Last Name: Clewett Organization: Lewinsville Faith in Action Locality: Fairfax County

I urge the Committee to adopt HB 2227, to require adoption of the latest energy-efficiency standards for new residential construction (the International Energy Efficiency Code) within one year of their promulgation by the International Code Council. As it is now, the energy-efficiency standards for residential construction in the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code lag many years behind these nationally-recognized standards. Amending the Building Code to bring it up to the national energy efficiency standards will save both buyers and tenants money on energy bills, reduce electrical demand, lower carbon emissions, and thereby help minimize the harm done by the climate crisis. Reducing the financial and climate impact of residential buildings is of crucial importance. Buildings consume 52% of Virginia’s energy, and residential buildings use about half of that. Implementing the most up-to-date provisions for insulation and air infiltration of the current International Energy Conservation Code will increase the energy efficiency of new construction by more than 30%, substantially reducing energy use as well as the related greenhouse gas emissions. The current outmoded regulations impose a particularly high energy burden on communities of color and low-income homeowners and renters, who experience disproportionately high energy costs from poor energy efficiency. Some may argue that up-to-date regulations will raise the costs of home construction, but they ignore the fact that any such added costs are quickly offset by years of lower energy costs – not to mention all the associated health and environmental benefits of lower energy use. States like Maryland that require prompt modernization of building codes have not disrupted the housing market, but have merely made it work better, to serve the interests of homeowners and the public at large. Failure to move forward will burden residents, especially those of modest means, and will make it harder to achieve the Governor’s and the legislature’s goals of reducing carbon emissions. The time to act is now, so that our children and grandchildren may live more prosperous lives, in a cleaner and healthier environment. Please adopt HB 2227. Thank you, John Clewett

Last Name: Najarian Organization: Virginia Grassroots Coalition and VA Democracy Forward Locality: McLean

I urge the Committee to adopt HB2227, a bill that would require adoption of the energy efficiency provisions of the latest national standards (International Energy Efficiency Code, IECC) for new residential construction within one year of their promulgation by the International Code Council. Energy efficiency/energy conservation is the "lowest hanging fruit" for lowering energy consumption, costs related to energy use, and ultimately GHG emissions. At present, especially during the pandemic, VA residents are facing choices to eat or heat their homes. That would be much less the case if they were living in much more energy efficient homes. The time is now to do something about providing residences that take advantage of ways to lower costs with appliances, insulation, and other processes that save energy. Despite what home builders and other groups of individuals and businesses claim against updating codes, this bill will save money for owners and renters of residential property. ln addition, to stay current with the real estate demands of consumers, there is a trend that is growing - not declining - in demand for energy efficient residences. Buildings in general have a life of 70 years. When we have the opportunity now to build energy efficient homes, single and multiunit dwellings, why would we want to have to pay more money to retrofit building to make them more efficient? That is the option we force ourselves into, if we do not take the initiative now to get up to date, easily, with low cost, and long term payback. The Virginia Home Builders Association argues that energy efficiency adds costs to home construction, ignoring overwhelming evidence that these costs are quickly offset by years of lower energy costs and pollution to residents and society at large. If Virginia had fully adopted the 2012 IECC, new homeowners would (1) save $5,836 in utility costs over 30 years and (2) achieve net savings from the first month of occupancy even after accounting for an increase in mortgage costs. U.S. DOE Report. This bill is a win win for all. Please move this bill to a full House Vote and support passage of this law. Thank you for your consideration of my testimony.

Last Name: LeMenestrel Locality: McLean

I was shocked and disappointed to learn that Virginia is stuck with building codes dating back to 2012, and worst, that some of the most important areas of the code related to energy efficiency such as insulation and air leakage date back to 2009! This clearly means that the current process to keep the building codes up-to-date and in line with federal standards is broken and must be addressed through legislation. Other states such as our neighbor Maryland already mandates the adoption of the federal building codes within one year of being adopted at the federal level. This is not only a critical climate-related bill - as Virginia needs to cut its carbon emissions related to residential cooling & heating - but it is also an equity bill, because low-income residents and communities of color disproportionately experience the burdens of high energy costs due to low efficiency. It will take many years to catch up. This bill is the necessary first step.

HB2320 - Va. Residential Property Disclosure Act; required disclosures for buyer to exercise due diligence.
Last Name: Baxter Organization: Department of Conservation and Recreation Locality: Richmond

I was unable to sign in to participate virtually but I am available to answer questions on behalf of the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

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