And where is the discussion, in real facts and
programs for affordable housing? I have been
building for about 41 years; cut my teeth on (very)
affordable housing, but I am now no longer sure
what that actually looks like. According to the
National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), for
every $1,000.00 increase in home or mortgage costs,
127,560 potential buyers drop out of qualification.
FYI - any solar option, mandatory or otherwise, is
much more than 1,000 dollars.
Thirdly, with overall unemployment at or below 4%,
the labor force to just jump right in is not available and
could create additional slowdowns to any ongoing or
planned new home construction. It would also put
into play competition for solar companies to show
up at all, putting upward price advantages on their
products and services going to the highest bidder.
To further exacerbate this employment issue,
who is set up to provide training to new employees,
provide supervision and oversight of this industry?
The Solar Industry, by all accounts, has some very
good operators and some not so great ones. And
with the technology moving and re-developing
so quickly, how will the consumer be able to make
decisions on what they are buying and from whom?
And, as I can only relate the comments I have heard
back from clients of mine, who have solar or looked
into getting it: the industry seems to have little or
no standards, regulation or structure. I do know the
good operators in this industry are working to fix this
and should have our support. The state in its push to
expand Solar Power, should also aid in this quest.
And If I can pull on my Cynics Hat once again; if
those advocating for all this new regulation by way of
legislation and new added costs; if it is so good for all
the New Home Buyers, why isn’t it good enough for
your existing home in some fashion?
And don’t be fooled for one moment; some people
advocating for these changes, upgrades to the
current Codes and Standards, are directly affected.
Yes, they make their living in industries or with
manufacturers that benefit directly with these new
requirements. I saw this first hand in a National Code
symposium many years ago, right after Hurricane
Andrew (remember that little event?).
This Code Symposium was a lead-up to some
code changes, making the building code more
stringent. I attended, rather naively, hoping to see
a vibrant discussion, an exchange of ideas, science,
engineer testing; facts that supported these changes.
Instead what I saw was a lot of folks who worked for
manufacturers, vying for placement of their products
into the codes, for obvious reasons; not many revolving
around improvements to housing or Life Safety.
And please keep in mind, this Solar Mandate is on
top of other proposed ideas being considered and
lobbied for, which would further add to the cost of
new housing; only new housing. Again, it seems
so easy to legislate additional Codes and associated
costs onto people “not yet here”.
But don’t get me wrong in all of this. I, along with
most of us builders and developers, are in favor of
energy efficiency, solar power and anything that can
help slow down the effects of Global Warming. We
live here too, and care what we leave for our children
and grandchildren. What we are not in favor of, is
just one sector of our “community” in Massachusetts,
footing all of the responsibility and costs of these
ideas and ‘ideals’. And mandates placed on just a few
(New Homes), by so many not affected, this should
leave a bad taste in almost anyone’s mouth.
Emerson J. Clauss III
Emerson is President and partner with his son, Emerson IV, of Allegiance Construction & Development LLC, out of Whitinsville,
MA. Formerly from Connecticut, he attended Central CT State College (now University). He is Immediate Past President of
Builders and Remodelers of Greater Boston. Prior to coming back to New England, Emerson was local HBA President (twice)
and earned his Lifetime Director status (10 years continuous service or more) at Florida Home Builders Association. Emerson
is serving as Vice President of the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Massachusetts and will be that Associations
President in 2021 © Emerson J. Clauss III