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Posted on: November 6, 2020

Going Green: New Nashville ordinance updates building codes, energy standards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — Nashville is going green with a new ordinance that updates building codes and energy standards.

Mayor Cooper signed the legislation, BL2020-458, which updates standards that previously relied on models and guidelines from several years ago, his office said.

Part of the legislation strengthens construction requirements for tornadoes.

“Our homes – just like Nashville itself – require investments and modernized standards to operate more efficiently and more cost-effectively,” Mayor Cooper said. “When those improvements not only lower home energy costs, but also reduce the city’s carbon footprint and further protect homeowners, it makes even more sense to adopt them.”

ALSO SEE: Nashville mayor joins call for zero carbon green economy that creates jobs

Cooper promises the legislation improves energy efficiency while reducing the city's carbon footprint.

Components of the legislation provided by Mayor Cooper's Office:

  • Reduce Energy Consumption and Save Homeowners Money

Tennessee’s energy production costs are among the nation’s lowest, yet average residential electric bills in Tennessee are higher than most - the result of poor energy use and insulation standards. Furthermore, lower-income residents are more vulnerable to higher utility costs that result from inefficient building standards.

Mayor Cooper’s measure is designed to reduce energy use by up to 30 percent, providing net lifetime savings of $8,034 for every single-family dwelling unit, according to analysis by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy.

  • Attract Investment

As cities compete for businesses that set their own carbon reduction goals, the adoption of energy-efficient building codes has emerged as a key technique for attracting industry, according to Michael P. Vandenbergh, Professor and Co-Director of the Energy, Environment and Land Use Program at Vanderbilt University Law School and a recent appointee to Nashville’s Electric Power Board.

  • Make Homes and Buildings Safer

Mayor Cooper’s measure also raises the threshold for tornado and high-wind resistance from 90 miles per hour to 115.

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