New NOM for sustainable housing in the works

A better idea
A better idea

Mexico’s Energy and Environment Ministries are working to prepare new regulations applying to sustainable housing construction and retrofitting, according to a presentation made by an Energy Ministry (SE) official during the International Forum on Urban Development and Sustainable Reconversion held in Mexico City recently.  The regs will come in the form of a Norma Oficial Mexicana (NOM), or Official Mexican Norm, which is Mexico’s system of obligatory performance and safety standards for some types of products and industrial activities.  The new NOM is planned to establish the parameters within which housing units will be officially considered “sustainable,” based on characteristics such as energy and water efficiency, insulation and waste disposal, among others.  Presumably compliance with the guidelines will be required for housing to qualify for government incentive programs for builders and homeowners intended to stimulate increased energy efficiency.  Residential housing is estimated by the SE to be among the largest consumers of energy in the country, accounting for approximately 19% of power use nationwide.  Officials are targeting early 2012 for completion of the new regulations.

Much like the current municipal government of Mexico City, energy efficiency and ecological themes in general have been a key policy component of the administration of President Felipe Calderón, now nearing the final year of his term.  We have commented recently on public housing agency Infonavit’s Green Mortgage program and new requirements for energy consumption labeling on domestic appliances as examples of efficiency-related public policies.  Over the course of this year, the SE has been gradually implementing a program called Sustainable Light (Luz Sustentable), through which the public may exchange working incandescent bulbs for energy saving CFL bulbs at designated sites set up in grocery stores throughout the country.  The program is intended to help consumers save money on their electric bills as well as cut down on the overall consumption of electricity in homes and workplaces.  Luz Sustentable has set a goal of replacing 22.9 million light bulbs and recently proclaimed surpassing the 6 million mark.  In conjunction with the bulb replacement program, Official Mexican Norm NOM-028-ENER-2010, enacted in December 2010, establishes minimum energy efficiency performance for light bulbs and sets a timetable for the gradual elimination of conventional incandescent bulbs from the market.  Under this regulation, the conventional 100 watt light bulb is set to disappear from Mexican store shelves by the end of the current year.

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