A majority of states have developed comprehensive energy plans that provide recommendations for increasing efficiencies across numerous sectors. As buildings account for around 40% of national energy consumption, one aspect of these state plans should be building energy codes. This article will provide a brief overview of how several recently published state plans are addressing building concerns.
The Midwest has a long history of supporting energy efficiency. In 1983, Minnesota was the first state to pilot a statewide energy efficiency program. Since then six Midwestern states have adopted some form of an energy savings target, also known as an Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (EEPS). These policies have spurred significant investment in energy efficiency – dollars that are spent locally to create jobs and support plant retrofits, home weatherization, capital improvements in public facilities, small business energy efficiency improvements, and education campaigns among other initiatives.
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.