Success in constructing net-zero homes in the Northwest has sparked debate over how far green codes should go.
"You can build more efficiently and you can get to net zero,'" says Neil Grigsby, manager of NEEA's Next Step Homes project. "But what we're trying to do with this specification is really find that sweet spot where you are maximizing energy efficiency before you start hitting diminishing returns with added costs."
Grigsby says his organization wants to put the most cost effective measures into mandatory state building codes. But Jan Himebaugh, government affairs director of the Building Industry Association of Washington is concerned that more stringent codes could make new houses less affordable.