Virginia builders and owners must meet new energy standards

Part of the appeal of living in Virginia is having easy access to an abundance of historical sites that were involved in the development of America. But, when it comes to operating these older buildings, including homes, the amount of energy involved can climb to high levels. Even if Thomas Jefferson had the time to worry about home energy efficiency, he would not have had access to the technology required to improve energy use.

This is in part why Virginia has recently adopted new building standards intended to create more energy-efficient homes and commercial properties throughout the state. The Virginia Uniform Building Code, which is updated every three years, actually took effect March 1, 2011, but builders were given an additional year to comply with new energy use standards.

"The far-reaching perspective is the new rules will reduce the amount of energy that needs to be generated," Roger Robertson, Chesterfield County chief of inspections, told The Richmond Times-Dispatch. "The market is demanding it. Buyers are more aware. They sense the need to conserve and they understand the need to reduce dependence on foreign oil. There is a lot to be said about saving a little bit here and little bit there."

Indeed, the amount of money saved by a homeowner is entirely dependent on that individual's desires. Transitioning to energy-efficient lighting, such as CFL bulbs, will lead to marginally lower energy bills, while installing more expensive energy-efficient insulation could produce higher upfront costs in return for greater savings.

A qualified Washington, D.C. home inspector will have known about these new building standards for years, so he or she will be able to help a homeowner through all stages of achieving home energy efficiency, from a comprehensive energy audit right through the retrofit process. These reforms will prove to be cost-effective and beneficial to homeowners for years to come.