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Shaheen Urges Federal Housing Finance Agency to Lower Costs for Homeowners and Renters by Requiring New Federally-Backed Homes Meet Energy-Efficient Building Codes

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) sent a letter to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) urging it to require that new homes with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac meet up-to-date building codes for energy efficiency. Expanding the number of homes covered by updated codes would help Granite Staters save money and provide consistency for builders. Senator Shaheen secured $2.5 million in the Inflation Reduction Act for New Hampshire to adopt updated building energy codes, with another $1.6 million available for net zero codes.  

In part, Senator Shaheen wrote, “Aligning building codes with updated standards will save money for homeowners and renters across the country. HUD and USDA found that the increased initial costs of construction are more than made up for by lower monthly energy costs. Updated codes add only about 2 percent to the upfront cost of a home but save families an average of $750 per year on energy costs. [...] Beyond these potential monetary benefits, requiring updated building codes helps save lives by improving indoor air quality and protecting families from extreme weather events.” 

Shaheen concluded, “Accordingly, I urge you to move quickly to adopt modern energy building codes for new homes utilizing [Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac] mortgages to align with other federally backed housing construction. These standards will support a stable, efficient housing market by reducing wasted energy, improving health outcomes and lowering costs for both renters and homeowners across the country.” 

The full text of the letter can be found here.

Shaheen has championed efforts to secure federal investments in clean energy and energy efficiency initiatives and to update building energy codes in New Hampshire. Shaheen was a lead negotiator of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which made huge investments in clean energy, including $225 million to support the adoption and implementation of updated building energy codes based upon her longstanding bipartisan legislation with Senator Rob Portman. Shaheen also helped secure $1 billion in the Inflation Reduction Act, of which approximately $4 million was allocated to New Hampshire, to support code adoption, implementation, enforcement, training and workforce development.