A federal judge in New Mexico has ruled in favor of plaintiffs who contended that the portions of the 2007 Albuquerque Energy Conservation Code are preempted by federal law. The Jan. 25 decision by U.S. District Judge Martha Vazquez essentially rejected the city’s attempt, through its building code, to impose heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment-efficiency standards in commercial, multi-family and single-family residential buildings that are more stringent than federal standards. The lawsuit was filed on Sept. 30, 2010 by a group led by the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute.

In another move late last year, the Albuquerque city council voted 5-4 to abandon the city’s controversial energy-conservation code, adopted in 2009, and adopt instead the less-strict New Mexico energy code. The state code is based on the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code.