by Maureen Guttman, AIA
The votes have been counted and while some folks will be happy with the results, others are very disappointed. No, we’re not talking about the presidential election, but about the Online Governmental Consensus Vote that will determine the content of the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).
The bad news is that it appears that there will not be even a modest jump in the level of efficiency for the next energy code. Most of the proposals that would have “rolled back” the code’s efficiency were defeated, but only a scant few of the many proposals that would have moved the code toward a net zero standard were accepted. For states and municipalities that are counting on the energy code to serve as a major player in helping them achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 (or even 2050!), the continued “flatlining” of the IECC’s efficiency is a disappointing outcome.
On the plus side, it appears that voting participation was greatly multiplied thanks to the ICC’s new online voting platform, cdpAccess, and the concerted efforts of efficiency advocates across the country to get out the vote among governmental voting members. The actual number of votes cast has not been released, but ICC extended the voting period for an additional 5 days to accommodate the unprecedented numbers of participants.
Another happy outcome is the collaborative work done by a diverse group of stakeholders to improve the usability of the Energy Rating Index, or ERI compliance path. Proposal RE-173 was modified by Public Comment during the Kansas City hearings to raise the required ERI numbers while also increasing the building envelope efficiency when on-site power generation is part of the project.