The Environmental Protection Agency has been working on a green building rule that will require builders to make certain green roofs visible in their buildings and to reduce the amount of energy they use.
But there are many challenges to getting the rule finalized, including its potential to undermine a federal mandate that prohibits any building from emitting more than 40 percent of the country’s annual CO2 emissions.
The EPA says the rule would reduce CO2, but environmentalists and building trades groups say it would also undermine the nation’s clean energy and environmental laws.
In its draft plan, the EPA said the rule “could make it more difficult for manufacturers to build green buildings” and could have “potentially significant negative effects on the U.S. economy.”
But the Environmental Protection Administration is taking a different approach than the rule’s proponents.
It says the proposed rule would only require builders of green roofs to make green roofs a minimum of two times as visible as white roofs.
And it says the new rule would be less stringent than its predecessor.
The new rule is based on a recommendation from the National Association of Home Builders, which has argued that building manufacturers should be able to choose the color of their roofing, rather than being forced to use one color.
The rule also says that if a building is designed with one color in mind, it would have to include that color in a new building code.
“We don’t want to see any buildings that don’t comply with the CO2 standard being permitted to remain in business,” said Jessica Tully, the president and CEO of the National Assn.
“That’s why we are advocating for a rule that does not impose any new standards on the industry.”
In addition, the new rules would also require builders who choose not to make a green roof visible to make sure they install green lights or other visible lighting devices.
The proposed rule also would prohibit certain roofing materials, such as glass, that can be found in most building materials.
“I’m pleased to see the EPA working with the industry to protect consumers from unnecessary carbon pollution,” said Ken H. Kowal, president and chief executive officer of the Building Industry Association, which represents construction contractors.
The National Association for Home Buildings has a long history of supporting the Clean Power Plan, which aims to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
The organization also has opposed a previous proposal that would have required all U.A.H.B. members to install a green canopy on their buildings.
“The EPA should follow the lead of other agencies, like the EPA, and take the appropriate steps to protect the environment, workers, and the economy,” said Kevin Murphy, president of the New York City-based Building Industry Alliance.
The building trade group is a trade association representing over 800,000 building and commercial contractors, who collectively employ more than 50,000 people.
The trade group has said the proposal could have a significant impact on the construction industry.
“Building building building building,” Kowy said.
“This rule would really affect the construction sector and make it harder to build and we hope that the administration will take this seriously.”