CommonWealth Magazine (opinion): Call for net zero homes is too costly

Leaders from the Greater Boston Plumbing Contractors Association, Plumbers & Gasfitters Local 12, and the United Association of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders, & Service Workers raise concerns about the proposed implementation of an undefined “net zero stretch energy code” — part of climate legislation currently sitting on Gov. Baker’s desk:

At a time when we already face high housing costs and low supply—and an economy in recovery—net zero stretch energy codes will dramatically slow housing construction, increase costs in one of the most expensive regions of the country, and threaten countless good-paying jobs in our state for working families – from plumbers to electricians.

Unfortunately, the bill would also jeopardize access to financing for homebuyers. The National Association of Home Builders has found that for every $1,000 increase in the cost of a new home, 1,974 households in Massachusetts are priced out of the market. If signed into law, nearly 165,000 homeowners would be unable to qualify for a conventional home mortgage in Massachusetts.

Perhaps most concerning is the trickle-down effect all this would have on affordable housing construction. Already, according to the Boston Foundation’s Greater Boston Housing Report Card 2019, Boston remains one of the most racially segregated of the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas. The report card found that 7-in-10 of the region’s Latino households and two -hirds of black households live in just 10 communities.

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