HONOLULU, June 28 (UPI) -- Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle says the state has moved closer to energy independence by requiring solar water heaters in all new home construction.
Lingle signed the new requirement into law Friday, putting it into effect starting in 2010 and praising it as the first of its type in the United States, The Honolulu Advertiser reported. She said the measure represents an important commitment to the state's environment, while critics contended it will drive up home prices and eliminates an existing tax credit incentive.
The measure, called Act 204, was lauded by some environmentalists who said it was an important move to reduce Hawaii's use of fossil fuels, predicting it would significantly cut electricity costs for new homes.
"We've always talked about Hawaii being a role model, and here's a case where we actually are," Jeff Mikulina, director of the Sierra Club, Hawaii Chapter, told the Advertiser.
Homebuilders, however, were against the measure, contending would add to the already-high costs of buying a home in Hawaii.