The House of Representatives’ recently approved Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriation Act is a legislative win for the housing industry, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The bill clarifies three key issues that have been top areas of concern for the NAHB in the past year: transformers, the waters of the United States (WOTUS), and energy codes.

One of the biggest wins for the housing industry is the inclusion of language to defund efforts by the Department of Energy (DOE) to increase energy-efficiency standards on distribution transformers. The DOE had proposed a rule to increase efficiency standards by a tenth of a percentage point, but the NAHB argued that this would “further exacerbate the dearth of transformers that are raising housing costs.”
Supply chain issues with transformers have resulted in thousands of completed homes sitting empty. By defunding the DOE’s efforts to increase efficiency standards, the bill will help ease the shortage of distribution transformers and allow builders to get more homes completed and on the market.
The appropriations bill also includes language to address the Biden administration’s 2023 WOTUS rule. The EPA issued an amended WOTUS rule following the Supreme Court’s ruling against the agency in Sackett v EPA. However, the NAHB says that the amended rule still represents a significant challenge to housing affordability due to vague definitions that could delay the permitting process and regulatory confusion for builders.
The move to withhold funding for the WOTUS rule is essential as the NAHB continues to work with lawmakers and federal agencies to “achieve predictable WOTUS guidelines that will significantly hasten the home construction pipeline.”
Finally, the appropriations bill defunds a section of the Inflation Reduction Act that would provide $1 billion to support the efforts of state and local governments to adopt updated energy codes. The NAHB views the updated codes as “costly and restrictive” for builders.
The defunding of the Inflation Reduction Act is another significant win for the housing industry, as it will help to keep costs down for builders and homeowners alike.
The NAHB’s legislative wins in the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriation Act are a positive step for the housing industry. By addressing critical issues such as transformers, WOTUS, and energy codes, the bill will help ease supply chain disruptions, reduce regulatory uncertainty, and keep costs down.

Tips and Advice for Construction Business Owners:

  • Stay informed about the latest legislative developments that could impact your business. You can do this by subscribing to the NAHB’s newsletter or following the association on social media.
  • Contact your elected officials to let them know your concerns about issues that could impact the housing industry.
  • Get involved in your local and state home builder associations. These associations can help you stay informed about legislative developments and advocate for policies that support the construction industry.

Additional Notes:

  • The Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriation Act is still in the Senate, but it is expected to pass.
  • The NAHB is working with lawmakers to find a compromise on WOTUS that will provide clarity and predictability for builders.
  • The NAHB is also working to educate homeowners about the potential impact of updated energy codes.