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NC House passes rollback of building energy codes

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- A bill rolling back energy-efficiency standards for commercial builders has passed the North Carolina House.

The measure approved by the House Tuesday reverts energy conservation codes to 2009 standards, which are 30 percent lower than today's energy-use benchmarks. A similar provision for residential builders was removed at the request of the North Carolina Home Builders Association.

Republican Rep. John Torbett of Stanley said his bill helps encourage commercial development and reuse of vacant buildings because the codes drive up costs.

Businesses that produce energy-efficient materials have argued the bill will hurt a vibrant industry in the state.

Democratic Rep. Pricey Harrison of Greensboro said the bill destroys a collaborative effort from the Building Code Council that effectively regulates 40 percent of energy use.

The bill now heads to the Senate.