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Contractors Say New Building Code Could Be Costly

Montana is among the states leading the way with the most energy efficient building codes - a move contractors say could add several thousand dollars to the cost of starter homes.  One of the biggest changes requires that new homes be built with finished basements, rather than allowing unfinished basements without much insulation. That change and others could add $7,000 to the cost of lower-priced homes - but may also increase energy efficiency by as much as 18 percent or more than $200 a year. Other changes in requirements in the code include a small increase in the effectiveness of ceiling and wall insulation, more energy efficient windows, more energy efficiency light bulbs and programmable thermostats. 3/29 AP