A bill rolling back energy-efficiency standards for commercial builders has passed a North Carolina Senate committee.
The Senate Commerce Committee endorsed a bill Tuesday that backers say will spur construction by eliminating the 2012 codes in favor of 2009 standards. The 2009 standards are 30-percent lower than today's energy-use benchmarks.
Critics argued the bill would jeopardize long-term energy savings in favor of limited short-term benefits. Democratic lawmakers asked Republican sponsors to make a compromise that would keep the 2012 standards in some instances.
The lobbyist for general contractors in the Carolinas said there's some division within the group but that anything done to minimize costs will help construction.
The bill has already passed the House and now heads to the Senate floor.