AIAVT Testifies at LCAR Hearing to Delay RBES Adoption

AIAVT Public Policy Committee Chair, John Alden, AIA of Scott & Partners, and PPC Member, Bob Duncan, AIA of Duncan Wisniewski Architects (pictured far right) both testified before LCAR

On Thursday, May 25, the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (LCAR) heard from several members of the architecture and building community, who collectively urged the members of LCAR to delay the adoption of the newest round of updates to the Residential Building Energy Standards (RBES). 

AIA Vermont released this statement, outlining the two main reasons why a delay is called for at this time: 

  1. There exists an ongoing and systemic lack of clear authority for code administration and enforcement. This lack of oversight is causing financial harm in the marketplace, uneven penetration of the program statewide, and a severe drop in compliance.
  2. The 2023 proposed technical wall assemblies are not technically reliable without proper administration, increasing the probability of damage - and serious cost - to consumers. This puts the health, safety, and welfare of buildings and consumers at risk.

AIA Vermont has made climate action one of our organization’s top priorities, as outlined in our strategic plan, and is fully supportive of the intended goals of the energy standards. The consensus among AIA Vermont’s Public Policy Committee members, as well as the AIAVT Board of Directors, was that passing this round of updates without addressing these glaring issues surrounding the energy standards would create the potential for too many problems that will continue to go unaddressed.

Over the course of approximately two hours, the members of LCAR heard testimony from three builders and three architects. The urging of those testifying did ultimately get the attention of several members of LCAR, who chose to postpone their vote to adopt the updated RBES until their next meeting on June 8. While they have not decided yet to delay adoption, there is still the possibility for that outcome.

Update June 8, 2023: LCAR Votes to Delay Effective Date of RBES

LCAR met again this morning and voted in favor of approving RBES, with the delayed effective date of July 1, 2024. Members of LCAR were vocal about the need for an administrative framework for the energy code, and chose the effective date so as to allow the Energy Code Compliance Study Committee time to do its work and report out. The creation of that study committee passed as part of S. 100 (See pg. 36, Sec. 23 of the bill as passed) during this legislative session. Bob Duncan, AIA of Duncan Wisniewski Architecture will be AIAVT's representative on the study committee.

Special thanks go to Sandy Vitzthum, who led PPC on this issue and provided testimony at the 5/25 hearing, and to AIAVT PPC members John Alden and Bob Duncan for testifying on behalf of AIA Vermont.  Thank you also to all the members of our Public Policy Committee for their ongoing efforts around this issue. If you would like to get involved with PPC, please email our Executive Director, Sarah O Donnell at New committee members are always welcome!