Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, and Vermont all adopted new energy codes in 2015.
Energy efficiency rang in the New Year with seven states implementing new and improved building energy codes. The 2015 IECC, the latest version of the energy code, is now enforced in Maryland and Vermont; the 2012 IECC is implemented in Idaho, Minnesota, and New York; and the 2009 IECC is used in Arkansas and Louisiana. Here are some key facts about the new state code updates.
As often the first point of contact with prospective owners of new homes and buildings, architects are a key influence in determining the level of energy efficiency that is included in new construction and major renovation projects. But architects have been largely absent from an important issue that’s left Pennsylvania unable to adopt an updated building code.
BCAP asked the National Energy Codes Collaborative: What have we done in 2014?
How can architects build a new world of sustainable communities? By taking more responsibility for model energy code adoption and implementation. At the Hanley Wood Vision 2020 Sustainability Summit, held in conjunction with the 2014 Greenbuild in New Orleans, BCAP President Maureen Guttman encourages architects to let go of their old notions of responsibility and consider taking this new business opportunity to become the leaders of the collaborative process for ensuring quality design and performance.
At BCAP’s Annual Energy Codes Stakeholders Meeting, several key threads emerged from the wealth of energy code knowledge and discourse that unfolded during the day. As we as a community push forward to develop new strategies for better buildings in the coming years, we should also work to deploy the information and policies already at our disposal.
If every state began 2015 with the 2012 IECC for residential and commercial construction and moved from 60% compliance to 100% compliance by 2030, how much would the cumulative source energy savings, energy cost savings, and carbon emission reductions be in 2030?
The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory analyzed the relationship between the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index and the traditional simulation-based Performance Path used in the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). These findings will be important to be aware of as states and municipalities begin to consider adoption of the 2015 IECC, which includes a HERS-like rating system as an alternative compliance path.
While many states have worked hard to adopt the 2009 or 2012 IECC, implementation and compliance are sometimes overlooked. But that is changing. National, regional, and local focus is shifting to address meeting the 90 percent compliance goal set by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Working with numerous state energy offices to investigate and assess a state’s existing energy code infrastructure, one common weakness BCAP identified was a lack of awareness, understanding, and involvement in the building energy code development process by design professionals.
A long time ago in a first term far away, there was the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), a.k.a the Stimulus. As explained by the DOE, the ARRA section on State Energy Program funding included a statutory provision (Section 410) linking SEP funding to building energy code adoption and enforcement. As a condition of accepting the ARRA funding, the states provided assurances through governor’s letters indicating their state would comply with the terms of Section 410.
In May 2012, California approved its next building energy code update, the 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards (BEES, also referred to as Title 24, Part 6), setting the stage to once again claim one of the most efficient energy codes in the nation. The update’s timing is considered crucial given California’s population growth projections and the significant additions to its building stock expected to follow. The Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP) is proud to have been a part of adoption support process and to have been effective through direct outreach to organizations as well as through direct coordination with the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the Nation Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
The states of Missouri and Kansas present unique challenges to building energy code adoption support. As home rule states, they do not adopt mandatory statewide codes, necessitating local adoption strategies. The two states also share a major metropolitan area comprised of many municipalities with code enforcement authority. As such, market efficiencies in the building industry have developed in recent years and incentivized local jurisdictions adopting regulations identical or substantially similar to those in neighboring areas. However, this has also caused stronger desires among the municipalities to maintain the status quo and extend code update cycles beyond the three-year national model code cycle.
For over a year, the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP) has focused on South Carolina as a target state for the adoption of an updated building energy code. South Carolina regulates its building codes through a regulatory process, except for the South Carolina Energy Standard, which the state legislature must approve. The state’s previous energy code update legislation, House Bill 3550, enacted the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and became effective January 1, 2010.