This article was originally published in the January/February 1994 issue of Home Energy Magazine. Some formatting inconsistencies may be evident in older archive content.



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Home Energy Magazine Online January/February 1994




HUD Meets the Deadline

Faced with an ultimatum from Congress, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Renewal (HUD) issued stricter thermal performance standards for new mobile homes, beating Congress' end-of-October deadline with only one day to spare.

HUD said the new standards will save consumers more than $20 million per year, with savings easily outweighing the cost of purchasing and financing homes built to meet the new standards.

Homes built to the new standards will have additional insulation, more efficient doors and windows, and other structural improvements. Included are changes to mobile home ventilation and indoor air quality standards.

The standards reduce the maximum allowable heat transmission coefficient, expressed as a Uo-value, for all areas of the country. They don't specify how manufactures should achieve the Uo-value, just that they meet it by designing homes with acceptable overall performance (see Checking Out HUD's Proposed Mobile Home Performance Standards, HE Nov/Dec '93, p.21, and HUD Standards Overdue, HE Sept/Oct '92, p.9). The new standards tighten the maximum acceptable Uo value by an average of one-third. According to Craig Conner, a scientist with Pacific Northwest Laboratory who helped rewrite the regulations, the new standards will reduce energy used for heating and cooling mobile homes by roughly 25%.

The standards are similar to those HUD proposed and released for comment in 1992. One significant difference is that Florida is not in Zone 2 with Hawaii, as was proposed. The state is now in Zone 1, along with Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina. This raises the acceptable Uo-value in that zone to 0.116, because the value is based upon a weighted average of homes sold. Also noteworthy is that the regulations include a stricter method for calculating the Uo-values.

In 1992, Congress passed legislation to transfer HUD's authority to regulate manufactured homes to the states if HUD failed to issue the new standards by the end of October 1993. The standards have not changed since 1976 and the new standards take effect in October 1994.

-- Cyril Penn


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