ABC says best practices would improve site safety by 680 percent, Bay Area ZIP codes need six figures to afford a home, DOE says 2018 IECC will save nearly 2 percent on energy, switching gas stoves to electric induction, and the question--why do builder associations oppose efficiency codes?
ABC Says Best Practices Can Improve Construction Companies’ Safety by 680%
Construction companies that use proactive safety practices can reduce recordable incidents by up to 85%, according to Associated Builders and Contractors’ 2019 Safety Performance Report. Companies that adhere to best practices have a safety record that is up to 680% safer than the industry average, the report found. The annual report assesses the construction industry’s understanding of how to achieve world-class safety through ABC’s STEP Safety Management System.
“ABC’s fifth annual report on the use of leading indicators, such as substance abuse programs and toolbox safety talks, confirms that high-performing ABC members have safer construction job sites,” said Greg Sizemore, ABC vice president of health, safety, environment and workforce development. “This is one of the few studies of commercial and industrial construction firms doing real work on real projects, and it shows that implementing best practices can produce world-class construction safety programs.”
The Safety Performance Report is based on data gathered from ABC member companies recording nearly one billion hours of work in construction, heavy construction, civil engineering, and specialty trades. Of the eight core leading indicators that had the most dramatic impact on safety performance in 2018, daily “toolbox safety talks” were the most effective—reducing Total Recordable Incident Rate and Days Away and Restricted or Transferred rate by 85% compared to monthly sessions.
DOE Says 2018 International Energy Conservation Code Will Save Nearly 2% on Energy
The U.S. Department of Energy says that the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code will result in a national savings of 1.97% in energy costs. DOE conducted technical analysis evaluating the impacts of the updated code relative to the previous 2015 edition.
The analysis projects a 1.91% source energy savings and a 1.68% site energy savings. After the DOE issues its final determination on the savings from the updated code, states are required to certify that they have reviewed the provisions of their residential building code regarding energy efficiency. They must also certify that they have made a determination as to whether it is appropriate for them to revise their code to meet or exceed the updated edition of the IECC.
Even Those Making $100K Can’t Afford to Live in the Bay Area
The affordability crisis in the San Francisco Bay area has gotten so acute that even those earning $100,000 a year can’t afford to live there. Analysis by the San Jose Mercury News in partnership with the real-estate analytics firm Zillow came to that conclusion after a look at more than 225 ZIP codes across the nine-county Bay Area and Santa Cruz County since the tail end of the real-estate bust in 2012.
By last year, even families with low six-figure incomes could not afford the median market-rate rent in 72% of Bay Area neighborhoods. Affordability was out of reach for this cohort in all ZIP codes in San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin counties. Last year, 36% of all Bay Area ZIP codes required an income of at least $200,000 to afford the median mortgage payment.
To Help Save the Planet, Switch Your Gas Stove for Electric Induction Model
If society is going to solve the climate crisis, one of the things we need to do is stop burning gas to cook with, says a managing director at Rocky Mountain Institute. While most homeowners would not object to converting water heaters and furnaces to electric power sources, stoves are a different matter.
As energy producers phase out coal plants, burning gas is now a bigger source of carbon pollution than burning coal. About one-third of that gas is burned in homes and commercial buildings. Though state and local governments are pledging to cut carbon emissions, none of them has tackled the problem of gas in buildings.
Heat pumps can replace furnaces and air conditioners, but getting people to give up gas stoves will take some convincing because of the perceived advantage of pinpoint control of heat. The answer may be induction cooktops than run on electricity, and are more precise and faster.
Homebuyers Want More Efficient Homes, So Why Do Builder Associations Oppose Efficiency Codes?
Americans want more energy efficient homes but builder associations tend to fight new efficiency codes. Homebuyers are willing to pay an average of $8,728 more for a home if it will save them $1,000 annually on utility costs, according to a recent study.
Some green builders have used that desire to market their homes. One has used the tagline “My power bill is $5 a month. What’s yours?” Despite significant public support, the National Association of Home Builders typically is an ardent opponent of pro-efficiency proposals in building codes. Some wonder if the association’s efforts would be better served if they directed attention to see that homebuyers get what they want in the form of more efficient dwellings.