The California Energy Commission (CEC) has approved new building standards for the state, moving toward the zero net energy (ZNE) program targeted to start in 2020 in which new homes will produce more energy than they consume (see Daily GPI, June 10). The CEC's updated, more stringent standards are supposed to reduce single-family home energy use about 28% starting in 2017, compared to homes built to 2013 standards.

The American Gas Association (AGA) alleged that the U.S. Department of Energy(DOE) used a flawed economic model to establish its proposed rulemaking on energy conservation standards for residential furnaces. DOE's model began with 10,000 sample homes and used a random method to determine which households would be affected by the new rule and which would not. That removed "the rational, economic decision-making process" that takes place for both homeowners and builders, AGA contends. AGA maintains that random selections, which can be effective in other types of models, do not make sense in the application, and the savings DOE is touting from the proposed new rule "were based on a false premise," according to AGA's Kathryn Clay, vice president for policy analysis.