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Officials push for statewide energy codes in South Dakota

SIOUX FALLS (AP) -- Some building industry officials want South Dakota to enact statewide energy codes that commercial builders would be required to meet.

SIOUX FALLS (AP) - Some building industry officials want South Dakota to enact statewide energy codes that commercial builders would be required to meet.

In return for federal stimulus money in 2009, the state said it would work toward building codes aimed at making new homes and commercial buildings more energy-efficient, the Argus Leader reported. A 2017 deadline looms.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard's chief of staff, Tony Venhuizen, said the primary goal of the stimulus bill was to fund shovel-ready projects.

"There's no question this money was used as it was intended," Venhuizen said.

Direct Digital Control President Kasey Abbot said mandatory energy codes would lead to more energy-efficient buildings, and ultimately lower heating and cooling costs for consumers.

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"You build a building and the focus is on first cost," Abbott said. "However, many people fail to recognize the substantial future cost of heating and cooling that building. I've seen studies that show for every one dollar you spend on a commercial building, there is an associated future cost for utilities of about 50 cents. That is a substantial hidden cost, and it is why the energy efficiency of a building is so important - to lower those future energy bills."

Sioux Falls chief building officer Ron Bell said building officials support statewide mandatory requirements. Local governments currently can adopt energy code requirements, but Sioux Falls is among only a handful that do so.

"That would put everyone at a level playing field in construction across the state," he said.

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