Advocates aiming to prompt Pennsylvania legislators to update the state’s building codes erected two icehouses on the steps of the state Capitol in Harrisburg to make a point about energy efficiency.
One 8-foot-by-8-foot icehouse was built to current code; the other was built to passive house energy efficiency standards. In about three weeks, the project’s designers expect that the half-ton of ice in the less efficient shed will have melted completely, while the block in the high-performance building will still be about half of its original size.
Pennsylvania has not updated its energy codes since 2009. Advocates also want state lawmakers to reform the process for adopting new codes.
The Senate and House passed bills this spring to revise the state’s building code adoption process. A 2011 law requires an advisory board to approve each code change with a two-thirds vote.