Building Industry Association of Washington v. Washington State Building Code Council

683 F.3d 1144 (2012)

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Building Industry Association of Washington v. Washington State Building Code Council

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
683 F.3d 1144 (2012)

  • Written by Tanya Munson, JD

Facts

Congress enacted the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA) to regulate energy and water conservation standards for certain consumer appliances. Congress gave the Department of Energy (DOE) primary responsibility for promulgation regulations to prescribe a minimum level of energy efficiency or maximum quantity of energy use for such appliances. The EPCA expressly exempts from preemption any regulation or requirement contained in a state or local building code for new construction concerning the energy efficiency or energy use of covered products if the code satisfied seven statutory conditions. Washington state enacted a statewide building construction code (the building code) to promote energy efficiency goals. The legislature delegated authority to the Washington State Building Code Council (the council) (defendant) to promulgate the building code. The council amended the building code in 2009. The code provided builders with the option to use products that were more efficient than federal standards in exchange for financial incentives to meet energy reduction goals. The Building Industry Association of Washington (the association) (plaintiff) challenged the building code in district court, arguing that the amendments would increase appliance installment costs. The association claimed the building code was expressly preempted by the EPCA and did not satisfy the statutory conditions that provided an exemption from preemption, including that a code must not require builders to install products that were more efficient than federal standards would require and that if a building code grant credits, the credits must be given in proportion to energy use savings. The district court ruled that the credit values in the code were closely proportional to the average reduction in equivalent energy use and that the code satisfied the requisite conditions so that it was exempt from preemption. The district court granted summary judgment to the council, and the association appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Schroeder, J.)

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