How Could this Happen?
Title 13, Article 14, Chapter 9.5, Section 2 of the Indiana Code (
Sec. 2. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b) or section 1.1 of this chapter, an administrative rule adopted under IC 13-14-9 expires January 1 of the seventh year after the year in which the rule takes effect, unless the rule contains an earlier expiration date. The expiration date of a rule under this section is extended each time that a rule amending an unexpired rule takes effect. The rule, as amended, expires on January 1 of the seventh year after the year in which the amendment takes effect.
Governor Pence could issue an executive order to extend it for one year. Per Section 9.5 of the same chapter (IC 13-14-9.5-5):
Sec. 5. If a rule is not readopted and the governor finds that the failure to readopt the rule causes an emergency to exist, the governor may, by executive order issued before the rule's expiration date, postpone the expiration date of the rule until a date that is one (1) year after the date specified in section 2 of this chapter.
However, even this would be a temporary fix. Even if the executive order were to occur, the state would need to re-adopt an energy code again by the end of 2017.
How did we get to this point?
Codes Can Expire
Code expiration is not new. The outdoor event equipment rule expired last year. The plumbing code could expire at the end of 2018. Codes can be readopted, but the 2010 Indiana Energy Conservation Code re-adoption process was halted this Fall when the code was separated from the standard rule re-adoption process. That action means that Indiana's current energy code cannot be re-adopted by the Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission. Therefore, it will expire. Adoption of a new energy code cannot be completed prior to expiration due to a
moratorium on new regulations
and the fiscal impact rules. But here is the catch: after expiration, the fiscal impact laws could effectively prevent adoption of a new energy code as the fiscal impact will be measured against no code being in effect.
If an executive order extends the energy code by one year, it would give the commission a chance to adopt a new code before the one expires - and the fiscal impact would be measured against the current energy code (based on
ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007
Why is an Energy Code Important?
Having an energy code has the following economic impacts:
*Saves building owners money. An energy code sets a minimum standard for energy efficiency for buildings. Buildings constructed to meet a minimum standard through an energy code use less energy, which reduces utilities bills - and puts money back into individuals' and companies' pockets.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy in an
Indiana DOE Determination Letter (May 31, 2013)
Energy cost savings for Indiana resulting from the state updating its commercial and residential building energy codes in accordance with federal law are significant, estimated to be on the order of nearly $240 million annually by 2030.
*Long-term economic resilience. The energy code serves as a de facto form of consumer protection in that if something is a new build, a consumer can expect it will perform to a certain level of expectation in terms of comfort and energy costs. With the uncertainty of long-term energy costs, an energy code better ensures that the state is safeguarded against a potentially-devastating economic hardship should energy costs rise considerably.
*Increases grid reliability. Most buildings waste energy to some degree, which strains power production capacity and puts increasing stress on the utility grid. Buildings held to a standard by an energy code support grid reliability and support making utility bills more predictable.
*There are considerable potential environmental benefits to establishing a standard for energy conservation in our buildings.
*Bad Precedent. Finally, allowing the 2010 Indiana Energy Conservation Code to expire sets a bothersome precedent to allow the systematic expiration of other building-related codes in Indiana. Once a rule has expired it cannot be readopted. The rulemaking process has to start all over.
Governor Pence has the power to grant a one-year extension of the current energy code by executive order, which would give the Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission a chance to adopt a new energy code before the current one expires.