South Korea

Current Codes

Building Design Criteria for Energy Saving (BDCES)
This is South Korea’s mandatory building energy code. It was adopted in 2001, and has been revised many times since. The BDCES contains both mandatory and recommended standards in a wide range of areas including design/construction basics, mechanical equipment, electrical equipment, and renewable energy procedures. The code is a product of Korea’s existing standards and other standards gathered and revised from codes in the US, UK, Germany, Canada, and Japan. Korea opted to make their code more simple (like Japan’s) in order to streamline implementation.

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South Korea began implementing building energy codes as a result of the 1970 oil crisis. In 1977, it passed a code on insulation thickness; in 1979 it passed the Rational Energy Utilization Act (REUA); in 1980 it established the Korean Energy Management Corporation (KEMCO) in order to manage further building energy codes. The REUA was the accepted standard until 2001, when the first edition of the Building Design Criteria for Energy Saving (BDCES) was first passed. Last updated in 2008, the BDCES combines old code standards with selected standards from five other countries’ codes, simplified for easier implementation. The BDCES covers a wide range of standards, and produces mandatory and recommended building standards. During the permitting process, a builder must achieve a 60 point score by implementing a certain amount of the required and recommended standards. South Korea has also had a history of energy efficiency codes in the industrial sector, with a most recent goal of cutting its CO2 emissions in the industry sector 6% by 2020.
Source: 2009 PNNL Building Energy Codes Report