"They were just really poorly built," he said. "I am not sure we had the code requirements that gave inspectors the ability to do much about it. And the industry at the time didn't understand the basics of building science."
Dittmer said there are Utah bungalows built around 1905 that perform better from an energy standpoint than those class of homes.
"At the end of the day, it is the guy swinging the hammer who cares about what he does," he said.
The challenge, too, is balancing quality with affordability, Dittmer said, adding that as consumer consciousness grows, the marketplace will invoke the necessary changes.
"It has been very positive to see some of these homebuilders take real leadership and go above and beyond what the code requires," he said. "The construction industry has reacted to the concern of homeowners who have to buy that home, live in it and pay for electricity and gas that is going up every year."
Dittmer is also president of the Utah Home Energy Performance Association, a trade association for energy auditors, contractors and suppliers that educates homeowners about the benefits of energy efficiency.
He said the greatest benefit to come from the revisions is that it will start people talking.
"This introduces a conversation about building better homes, and I hope it introduces the homebuilding community to how easy it is to do the right thing. And I would think that would be enough," Dittmer said.
Ultimately, that "enough" would result in the sort of community where code requirements didn't have to exist, and like texting, the housing industry had an auto-correct mode, he added.
"With that, Utahns could go out and purchase homes with the peace of mind that it is not only well-built, but built with energy efficiency and comfort in mind," Dittmer said.
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