When Texans look to their state capital, they see a diverse and sprawling metropolis of just under a million people, a vibrant cultural and economic hub, and a downtown skyline undergoing rapid transformation. Less visible at is the city’s long and continued commitment to the energy efficiency of its built environment. Austin stands as a fine example of how a city can go beyond minimum statewide requirements to give its residents a better, greener future. In addition to adopting strong energy codes, the city has also taken a significant interest in renewable energy, including solar.
Florida is a state poised to have a huge impact on national building energy usage patterns in the coming years. Strong energy codes can work in tandem with renewable energy sources such as solar photovoltaics (PV) to provide Floridians with efficient homes and low utility bills. Building on these advances, the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP) and the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) have selected three cities in Florida as training locations as a part of our work with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative.
The year 2030 is a meaningful one across the world of energy efficiency and renewable energy. The Architecture 2030 challenge aims to have new construction and renovations be carbon neutral by this date. Many countries have made pledges to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions on this same timeframe. And last month, the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative announced their own 2030 targets: a further reduction in the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV). As a SunShot Initiative awardee, BCAP has hit the ground running to discover the best cities around the country for training design professionals on solar PV.
American’s demand for solar energy is spreading – and fast. Recent federal policies are making solar even more favorable. As the cost of photovoltaic (PV) solar energy drops to a level on par with traditional energy costs and new policies help the burgeoning solar industry, the continued growth of solar energy is certain. With the increased number of solar panels on properties, buyers are asking real estate professionals tough new questions. With funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SunShot program, solar training will be available to the various stakeholder groups that assist buyers, real estate professionals, appraisers, code officials, architects and engineers.
In partnership with the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE), BCAP will develop solar-related educational materials and provide targeted training to design professionals, including architects and engineers, in 22 key metropolitan areas across the nation. The nearly $800,000 award spans two years and is designed to give these professionals the tools they need to incorporate solar into their blueprints and designs.
The Florida Home Builders Association and the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance have teamed up to prepare building code trainers to deliver effective energy code training for the Florida construction industry. The organizations developed a curriculum in early 2015 and held the first train-the-trainer series in late February.
Energy efficiency advocates, governments, utilities, and others that fund energy code compliance initiatives often question whether enforcement or training and outreach are more effective at driving higher compliance rates. The answer isn’t obvious.
U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America Program is taking aim at barriers to innovations from codes and standards. Building America will release Code Compliance Briefs to facilitate the conversation between builders, installers, and code officials when an innovative product or technique is used in the field. The intent for Building America Code Compliance Briefs is to provide additional information to help ensure innovative measures will be deemed in acceptance with the code or standard. By providing the same information about proven innovations to all interested parties, the Building America Solution Center will facilitate code compliance for innovations at the time of plan review and field inspection, avoiding compliance problems and costly delays.
In May 2013, eight code enforcement professionals from across Ohio were trained to become Energy Code Ambassadors for the state in a newly improved program offered by the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP) and the International Code Council (ICC). BCAP and ICC partnered with the Ohio Development Services Agency’s Office of Energy to launch the Ohio Energy Code Ambassador Program (ECAP) in coordination with the Ohio Board of Building Standards. With support from two utilities in the state, the program has set a new standard for ECAP.