Midwest Building Solutions (MBS) was a results-oriented code and beyond-code training program for new homebuilders. The goal of this training program was to promote a cost-effective and resource-efficient approach to building, resulting in new homes that are durable, safe, comfortable, and exceeded the 2003 International Energy Conservation Code® (IECC). The training illustrated the flexibility and simplicity of the various code compliance options available to builders, and provided builders with information on ENERGY STAR® and other programs that offer marketing messages and tools to help builders sell their better building practices and energy-efficient homes.
The program provided MEEA with an important vehicle for expanding the reach of its programs, strengthening existing relationships, and developing new networks of contacts in the home building industry−a constituency with a significant impact on energy use now and into the future.
Origins and Impacts
MEEA developed Midwest Building Solutions with the support of the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA) to address the growing energy use in homes. Increasing energy efficiency in new homes is especially important, as these efficiencies will last the lifetime of the house. Homes built today typically have a life expectancy of 75 years, so any effort to make them more energy efficient will have lasting benefits and savings for the lifetime of the home and our future.
Illinois and Ohio both successfully implemented MBS, through the sponsorship support of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, and the Ohio Department of Development−Office of Energy Efficiency. When the program wrapped up in 2006, Midwest Building Solutions had trained over 300 homebuilders in two states to build energy- and resource-efficient homes.
The Legacy of Midwest Building Solutions
Though the Midwest Building Solutions program is not currently active, MEEA could work with program partners to update the curriculum to current building code standards and customize it for any state to offer tremendous benefits for builders and the environment. Historically, costs of the program have been low and covered marketing, curriculum updates, and training costs.
The need for homebuilder training to meet and go beyond building energy code standards is greater than ever as more states adopt the latest codes to meet the requirements of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Though MBS is inactive, MEEA is not! We are currently training HVAC, insulation, and plumbing contractors to install high-efficiency appliances, and helping customers to find them, through our PEEC Network program and are working with Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® in Illinois. To learn more about energy efficient building and construction, contact Jamie Peters, Program Manager.