HB580: January 23 Hearing on Proposed Legislation to Limit Missouri Local Governments Enacting Building Energy Codes

A bill in the Missouri House, was filed just the other week, which aims to limit regulation (i.e. preempt efforts) regarding building energy codes. On January 23, the bill was scheduled for a hearing in Jefferson City this Wednesday (Jan. 25) at 10am. The public either must testify in-person or submit a written comment on this portal.

HB580 (legislative text and info about the bill’s progress can be found here) would effectively prohibit all governments from going beyond the 2009 IECC (International Energy Conservation Code). The 2009 IECC standards are less stringent than longstanding building codes on the books in over 50 Missouri local governments. Ironically, the state of Missouri, at present, has no statewide building code, intentionally leaving it up to local jurisdictions. This bill would not set an energy code for the state but will prohibit local jurisdictions from taking action to protect the interests, and advance the will, of their voters.

KCMO residents called on the City Council to adopt the 2021 IECC with no weakening amendments (applicable only to new construction) to ensure the City seized this opportunity to advance its climate action goals. Other cities in Missouri are working to do the same, and so is the state’s own Division of Energy.

HB580 will cost the state millions in extra energy costs, not to mention cutting off cities and counties from getting access to the more than $1 billion tax dollars made available through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and bi-partisan infrastructure law.The IRA includes $330M for U.S. states and cities adopting the IECC 2021, and $670M for those that include the ZERO Code appendix.  Since the new ordinance includes both of these, it would make Kansas City eligible to pursue some portion of the $1B.  If Missouri cities and counties adopt anything less than IECC 2021, they will not be eligible for any portion of this funding and Missourians will lose out on having their tax dollars brought back and invested in their communities.

By Billy Davies, Thomas Hart Benton Group, Missouri Chapter Sierra Club [email protected], January 24, 2023.