This week, a new bill was introduced in the Arizona state Senate regarding energy efficiency regulations. If the law passes, it would prohibit the government from enforcing energy mandates on new homes that are built. Senator Chester Crandell (R), the person who introduced the legislation, says it is a way to keep construction costs and home prices low.
Senator Crandell argues that it should be up to the construction company what features should be included in a new home. Crandell wants the bill to address what he sees as the main issue with adopting international environmental standards: The cost of a home being driven up under the assumption that any energy saving measures will ultimately pay for themselves in the long run by saving homeowners money on their monthly utility payments.
The proposed law has local Arizona astronomers concerned. Arizona is an international leader in low levels of light pollution and scientists are worried that by barring government requirements for low-intensity outdoor lighting the bill could hurt their efforts to protect the skies. Crandell says he would be open to an amendment to add exemptions for dark sky ordinances, but this has not lessened the fears of those who oppose the amendment. The bill has cleared the first Senate subcommittee and is currently waiting for further action from the state legislature.
While the Arizona Senate debates what steps to take with energy efficiency, you can work to reduce your own home's daily energy consumption. The simplest place to begin is to have your existing light bulbs replaced with CFL bulbs. Having an energy audit from home inspection company Alban Inspections is another way you can see where you waste unnecessary energy.