By REBECCA SMITH Updated June 1, 2012, 7:02 p.m. ET
California added new energy-efficiency requirements to the state's building code this week, a move expected to reduce energy consumption but also add to the cost of construction of houses and commercial buildings.
The revisions, which take effect in 2014, are the biggest change in the energy-efficiency portion of the California code since it was created in 1978.
Regulators at the California Energy Commission, the agency responsible for updates, said the changes will make houses and commercial buildings 25% to 30% more energy-efficient and eventually will produce energy savings equivalent to the output of six large power plants.
But even supporters expressed concern about the cost, especially when imposed on a building industry in the doldrums. For example, the energy commission said new requirements could add approximately $2,290 to the cost of the average new home. The commission said energy savings would more than make up for the added cost, though it could take years to reach the break-even point.
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