What does the next chapter of energy efficiency look like for Austin?

The summer sun sets on Austin, TX on a humid August evening.

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.


Miami takes the next STEP with solar training for design professionals


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.


How these 22 cities could shape the future of solar photovoltaics


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.


Where Are They Now? New Hampshire


In 2010, BCAP created a list of Places to Watch that were making strides in enacting energy efficient building codes. Now, we are going back to these nine jurisdictions to track their progress and see what other innovations they’ve added six years later. We will be looking for other places to watch in the future as cities lead the way with sustainability plans and energy saving goals. BCAP identified New Hampshire as one its Places to Watch for two major reasons: the state’s timely adoption of the most recent model energy code at that time, the 2009 IECC; and their Energy Code Compliance Roadmap, designed as a guide towards 90% compliance with the existing code by 2017.


Northern Nevada Welcomes a New Compliance Path


Several municipalities and counties in Northern Nevada recently joined states around the nation by adopting the 2015 IECC Energy Rating Index (ERI) compliance option. The state’s current residential energy code – the 2012 IECC – is still in effect, but has been amended in these locations to include an ERI compliance path and a 2009 IECC thermal envelope backstop.


Where Are They Now? Santa Fe, NM


In 2010, BCAP created a list of Places to Watch that were making strides in enacting energy efficient building codes. Now, we are going back to these nine jurisdictions to track their progress and see what other innovations they’ve added six years later. We will be looking for other places to watch in the future as cities lead the way with sustainability plans and energy saving goals. BCAP identified Santa Fe as a place to watch due to their residential green code adoption, citywide sustainability plan, and Water Conservation Plan.


Timely Solar Training for Design Professionals Coming Soon


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.


New Energy Efficiency and Green Appraisal Resource for REALTORS®


BCAP is proud to announce a new resource for REALTORS® developed by BCAP, the Appraisal Institute (AI) and the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). As homes are increasingly listed with energy efficient features in Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) around the country, it is important for real estate professionals to both understand the benefits of energy efficiency, and how to best communicate with clients about efficiency. When they understand the impact that efficiency upgrades can have on new or existing homes, real estate professionals can advise and refer clients to additional actions they can take to further improve home performance.


Your Vote is Needed – and Now It’s Easier Than Ever


Every three years, hundreds of building industry members from states across the nation convene to develop the next U.S. model building energy code via a consensus process held by the International Code Council. The process, which includes code officials, architects, engineers, product manufacturers, builders and energy efficiency advocates, is designed to ensure that modern-day technology and building practices are incorporated into the current model building code. This year, some members of the residential code committee were more focused on lowering costs for home builders than improving energy efficiency of homes. As a result, the 2018 IECC has the potential to be significantly weaker than its previous iterations.


U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative Selects the Building Codes Assistance Project and Center for Sustainable Energy to Provide Solar Training and Education to Design Professionals

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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.


Wins and Shortfalls for Energy Codes

On April 20th, the Senate passed a bipartisan S. 2012, which sponsors hope will become the first broad energy bill in almost a decade. In addition to electric grid modernization, the Energy Policy Modernization Act supports energy efficiency in buildings. S. 2012 directs the Secretary of Energy to “encourage and support the adoption of building energy codes…that meet or exceed the model building energy codes, or achieve equivalent or greater savings, and support full compliance with the state and local codes”. According to the Alliance to Save Energy, this bill will result in $60 billion in net savings for consumers by 2030.


The Energy Rating Index: What does the future hold?


With the 2018 version of the IECC being developed this year, it seems appropriate to look at the success of the ERI and what the future may hold. The voluntary ERI path for the 2015 IECC gives builders the option of complying with the code by meeting a target Energy Rating Index score. This is a numerical score where 100 equates to the efficiency levels prescribed in the 2006 IECC and 0 is equivalent to a net-zero-energy (NZE) home.


Do Energy Codes Work?


Last year, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that eight states would be part of a three-year Residential Energy Code Field Study. Once completed, the study will provide an unprecedented opportunity to develop new strategies for education, training, and outreach for improving the energy efficiency of single-family homes, as well as a measurement of the impact those activities have on residential energy use.


Homebuyer Demand for Energy Codes


Consumer demand for energy efficiency is a topic energy code advocates need to understand. We want to know the answers to questions like “do consumers believe in conserving energy through increasing energy efficiency in their homes?” and “how much are consumers willing to pay for home improvements for efficiency?” so that we can make a stronger case for our support for energy efficient building codes. Recently, BCAP looked at four major consumer surveys and summarized their findings in a fact sheet. Although the surveys were conducted by various organizations, the findings led to a strikingly similar conclusion: Consumers want and expect energy efficiency when buying a new home.


Appraised Value and Energy Efficiency: Getting It Right


While location, design, and price are a home buyer’s main considerations, surveys show that buyers rank energy efficiency as one of the most desirable features, and importantly, when there is sufficient energy savings – one they’re willing to pay more for. One way to know that a home is built energy efficiently is to know which energy code it was built to.


Comprehensive State Energy Plans: A Brief Comparison


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.


New Report Compares Cost-Effectiveness Methodologies As Congress Considers Requirements For Energy Code Updates

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A significant proposal before Congress would require proposed energy code changes to be evaluated for their cost-effectiveness prior to inclusion in a code. The proposal before Congress designates simple payback as the principal basis for evaluating the cost-effectiveness of proposed energy code changes, but two other methods for determining cost-effectiveness are Life Cycle Cost (LCC) and Mortgage Cash-Flow (MCF).


Report On Florida Circuit Rider Program Now Available


Energy code circuit riders are in-field experts that meet with specific individuals to address code compliance and enforcement needs. Circuit riders travel to individual jurisdictions to provide tailored technical assistance and resources to support energy code compliance. The Florida program aimed to develop a snapshot of code enforcement in the field, and identify needs for future targeted technical assistance to strengthen enforcement of Florida’s commercial code. This report from SEEA is the first in a series documenting the experience and findings from the Circuit Rider’s work in Florida.


Forthcoming 2018 International Green Construction Code (IgCC) To Consolidate ICC And ASHRAE Standards


In a deal nearly two years in the making, the International Code Council (ICC) and ASHRAE have signed the final agreement that outlines each organization’s role in the development and maintenance of the new version of the International Green Construction Code (IgCC).


High Performance Schools: Northeast States Paving The Way For This And Future Generations


Each year, K-12 schools spend around $8 billion on energy nationwide. They use 10% of the energy used by all commercial buildings and are the third biggest energy user of all commercial building types (U.S. EPA, 2011). What if these schools were built to be more energy-efficient and sustainable? What if building and operating high-performance school buildings were a natural part of the school design and construction practice?


Measuring The Real Impact Of Building Design


Last month, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) had its national annual convention in Atlanta, Georgia. At the convention, BCAP’s President, Maureen Guttman, along with three other architects, gave a presentation on building commissioning to make one thing clear: building commissioning is here to stay and architects have big business opportunities to help shape the future direction of commissioning. In the session, presenters provided an overview of what commissioning is and shared a few reasons why they think that architects should be leading the process. First, the commissioning industry is growing large and fast. Second, commissioning is already an accepted service provided by architects.


DOE Issues Final Determination On The 2015 IECC

The Department of Energy has announced findings on energy savings from adopting and complying with the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). Compared with residential buildings meeting the 2012 IECC, the 2015 edition achieves national source energy savings of approximately 0.87 percent, site energy savings of approximately 0.98 percent, and energy cost savings of 0.73 percent of residential building energy consumption.


My View: Utah Needs New Energy Codes That Make Buildings, Homes More Efficient


Air pollution is a top concern for Utah citizens. So is financial stability. Improving our air quality while saving money for Utahns is a win-win opportunity. This summer, decision-makers will be voting whether or not to adopt up-to-date building energy codes that will help new homes and buildings constructed in Utah cut energy waste, lower air pollution and reduce Utahns’ energy bills.


New Calculator Tool Empowers States To Use Building Energy Codes To Comply With The Clean Power Plan

Today, the Alliance to Save Energy and the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition announced the release of a landmark calculator that state air quality offices can utilize to estimate the carbon emission savings from state adoption and enforcement of the most recent building energy codes. The most recent 2012 and 2015 versions of the International Energy Conservation Codes (IECC) have boosted the efficiency of new home and commercial building construction by 38% and 28%, respectively, over 2006 requirements.


New Homes Must Meet 2009 IECC to Qualify For Federal Mortgage Insurance


The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) determined last week that the adoption of the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for single family homes and ASHRAE 90.1-2007 for multifamily buildings will have zero negative impact on the affordability and availability of certain HUD- and USDA-assisted housing.


DOE’s Three Year Residential Energy Code Field Study


In September 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced eight states that would participate in a three year Residential Energy Code Field Study. The states include: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas. Through the project, DOE plans to establish a sufficient data set to represent statewide construction trends and detect significant changes in energy use from training, education and outreach activities. Through the project, DOE plans to establish a sufficient data set to represent statewide construction trends and detect significant changes in energy use from training, education and outreach activities.


Energy Codes Preserve Homeowner Health And Comfort


This post will dive into mechanical and water heating systems—supply and return duct systems, cooling systems, and hot water piping insulation. Failure to comply with the mechanical system provisions in the IECC can lead to several unintended consequences that negatively affect more than just energy consumption—including indoor air quality, premature equipment failure, and a less-controllable and less-comfortable environment for homeowners and tenants.


2015 National Energy Codes Conference Recap


After a three-year hiatus, the Department of Energy’s National Energy Codes Conference returned in March 2015 for two and half days of inspiring education and a reminder of the importance of energy code support in our country. The conference was a great success thanks to the enthusiasm of 250 attendees, session speakers, moderators, and plenary speakers.


Taking a Closer Look at Commercial Construction Data


More regional energy efficiency organizations are examining commercial construction data to gain insights into the commercial construction trends and the economic impact of building energy code adoption and implementation on the construction trends. Raw construction data on permits can help stakeholders understand what kind of impact newer state-level energy code adoption and implementation have on the market and communities at local and state-level.


New Year, New Codes


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.


Outreach to Architects in Pennsylvania

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.


Energy Codes Boost Development


This op-ed highlights the results of the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance’s (SEEA) recent codes research, confirming that the adoption of stronger energy codes across the Southeast has no adverse effect on commercial construction activity. In Georgia, when the state adopted the 2009 IECC with Georgia State Supplements and Amendments in 2011, it saw the largest ever number of activated construction permits.


Highlights of the 2015 IECC Residential Code Changes

Looking at what makes the 2015 IECC different from the 2012 version, the biggest change that will affect builders is the addition of an Energy Rating Index (ERI) compliance path. This article will outline some other important changes. Five of the major changes in the 2015 IECC that will affect new home construction include specifying required inspections; revised requirements for vertical access doors; a new requirement for combustion closets; revisions to the building envelope air leakage testing requirements; and revised requirements for duct insulation.


The City Energy Project Assessment Methodology For Energy Code Compliance In Medium To Large Cities


The City Energy Project Assessment Methodology is designed to assist cities in identifying residential and commercial energy code compliance issues and help identify the areas they should focus on in order to improve their compliance rates. The methodology helps cities identify common areas of non-compliance as well as the causes of non-compliance. So far, 10 cities are using this methodology to cut energy waste, boost local economies, and reduce harmful pollution.


Building a Stronger Local Energy Code Network in Oklahoma and Texas


More people in Oklahoma and Texas will soon enjoy the benefits of a stronger local energy code community through the work of twelve newly-certified Energy Code Ambassadors. These volunteers will work under the auspices of the South-central Partnership for Energy Efficiency as a Resource (SPEER), the newest regional energy efficiency organization. SPEER’s Ambassadors are well suited to impact building practices in the one region where the most new building is occurring, creating more efficient, durable and affordable buildings.


SWEEP And MEEA Wrap Up Their Regional Conferences


The first Southwest Energy Codes Conference was recently held for one and a half invigorating days in Denver, Colorado on November 5th and 6th. In the Midwest, the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) held their 5th Midwest Building Energy Codes & Benchmarking Conference in Kansas City, Missouri from November 18th to 20th.


The Architect as Superhero

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.


Time For Action: Why We Need To Say Yes To Building Energy Codes

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.


A note from Sam Rashkin: It’s the Window Stupid…


Consistently, one of the biggest “ah-hah” moments in energy code training courses is the huge impact windows have on overall wall assembly performance. Even with just a 15% window-to-floor-area ratio, windows represent a giant thermal hole that disproportionately upsets all the good work done on the insulated wall assemblies. Who knew?


Codes, Standards and Rating Systems


Are architects unaware of their legal obligations under licensure, or are they simply negligent? Sooner or later, someone other than a sympathetic colleague is going to ask this question. Rapid change is upon us. Increasingly, consumers of design and construction services are demanding reliable metrics for building performance. Over the next 10 to 15 years, global pressures will ratchet up the “standard of care” for building designers.


Happy Energy Action Month!


October is the designated national month for energy efficiency. As President Obama states in his 2012 proclamation, we must “recognize this month by working together to achieve greater energy security, a more robust economy, and a healthier environment for our children.” Energy efficiency is considered to be the US’s greatest energy resource, and it is never too late to take action on this issue.


BCAP Movers And Shakers


In September, BCAP President Maureen Guttman was elected chairman of the Governing Committee of ICC’s Sustainability Membership Council at the International Code Council 2014 Annual Conference in Fort Lauderdale. Program Director Maria Ellingson has been elected to serve as a member of the RESNET Standards Development Committee 900 on Quality Assurance.


World Energy Engineering Congress (WEEC)


Earlier this month, thousands of energy professionals from around the globe gathered for the 2014 World Energy Engineering Congress (WEEC), the 37th event of its kind. It was presented by the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) and featured over 250 speakers. The WEEC conference is the largest gathering of its kind, representing the culmination of remarkable efforts towards a greener, cleaner future. Ideas and products showcased that Wednesday and Thursday worked at both ends of the energy life cycle: finding smarter ways of acquiring energy and then getting the most productivity with the least amount of waste.


More Evidence Debunking The Myth That Buyers Won’t Pay More For Energy Efficiency

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New results from a statewide consumer survey in Idaho show that consumers there value energy efficiency in new homes and are willing to pay more for it. In addition, two out of three Idahoans agree that the state should adopt a state energy code consistent with national standards. The majority believe that energy efficient homes increase the resale value of a home.


Not Your Father’s Code Development Process


Who remembers logging onto AOL using the old dial-up modems? I am sure you can hear it now. It seemed like a good idea at the time and got the job done, but in in retrospect, the process seems comically slow and inefficient. You could say the same about the state of the model building code development process. This year, however, we usher in a new way of doing things: cdpACCESS.


Survey Of Code Professionals Predicts Substantial Retirement Exodus

A recent survey conducted by the National Institute of Building Sciences on behalf of the International Code Council (ICC) reveals information that if not addressed in the coming years, may have an impact on the public safety of thousands of communities in the United States. Just as baby boomers are having an impact across other industries, code officials are aging and making plans for retirement in significant numbers. Nearly 85 percent of respondents are over the age of 45. More importantly, over 80 percent of respondents expect to retire within the next 15 years, and more than 30 percent plan to do so within five years.


A Tale of Bright Highs and Dark Lows: The State of Energy Efficiency in the Midwest


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.


Less Than 100 Days To Comment On EPA’s Clean Power Plan

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In June, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a historic plan under the Clean Air Act’s Section 111(d) to significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the nation’s largest source: existing power plants. Because 71 percent of America’s electricity is consumed by residential and commercial buildings, building energy codes – which have proven to be among the most cost effective measures to reduce carbon emissions – should be a prominent part of the menu of options that states can include in the State Compliance Plans they file with EPA. Unfortunately, EPA’s proposed plan doesn’t name specific demand reduction measures, like energy efficiency, that would be eligible for emission credits, let alone cite building energy codes as an option for state compliance plans.


The Growth Of DET Verifier Programs


Duct and Envelope Tightness (DET) Verifiers are individuals certified to perform duct and envelope tightness testing on residential construction. Georgia amended the 2009 IECC to require building envelope leakage testing and eliminated the visual inspection option. Since the 2009 IECC already required duct leakage testing, this meant that both a duct and envelope leakage test would have to be conducted.


CdpACCESS: A New, Easy Way To Get Your Vote Counted

Last November, ICC rolled out is much-anticipated solution – a remote voting system called “cdpACCESS.” The new cloud-based online tool has the game-changing potential to broaden participation by GMVRs to literally tens of thousands, a far cry from the hundreds who have cast final action votes on ICC’s 15 I-Codes.


HERS and the IECC Performance Path


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.


Taking Aim At Barriers To Innovations From Codes And Standards


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.


Going for the Next 20 Years

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BCAP is pleased to announce the realization of an important milestone in our long and successful history. Beginning June 1, 2014, BCAP ended its status as a program of the Alliance to Save Energy and became a stand-alone organization, receiving fiscal sponsorship and non-profit status from a new partner, the Trust for Conservation Innovation (TCI). Read more about the past and future of BCAP.


Code Officials Become Energy Code Ambassadors In The State Of Texas

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The South-central Partnership for Energy Efficiency as a Resource (SPEER) and BCAP provided thirteen building code professionals advanced training to become certified Energy Code Ambassadors in the state of Texas. These experienced code enforcement professionals have stepped forward to offer their expertise and assistance to other building departments and the construction industry, to assure that construction of buildings and homes comply with the energy code, providing greater energy efficiency.


High-R Wall Construction Strategies: Reducing Costs And Risk While Increasing Energy Performance

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The U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America research program has been a source of innovations in residential building energy performance, durability, quality, affordability and comfort for nearly 20 years. This world-class research program partners with industry (including many of the top U.S. homebuilders) to bring cutting-edge innovations and resources to market.


The Energy Code Ambassador Program: A Network Of Peer-To-Peer Support

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Energy Code Ambassadors are experienced building code officials who have been specially trained and certified on the energy code, and volunteer to offer their expertise and assistance to other code professionals in their state. They provide customized assistance to other code professionals or the construction and design industry. For example, in working with neighboring building departments, they provide an overview of the state energy code, assist with a plan review or site inspection, discuss compliance software such as REScheck or COMcheck, or present a specific topic such as air barriers, or mechanical requirements.


Engaging More Architects To Meet The Compliance Goal

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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.


The Energy Productivity Innovation Challenge Can Do Better By Codes

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If you were going to install a renewable energy system on your house, you would first make sure your house was as energy efficient as possible. At minimum, you would want your house to meet current model energy codes and you would probably go above and beyond the code. If you were the federal government providing incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy systems to states, wouldn’t you expect that states adopt a minimum energy efficiency code? And yet the federal government barely gets involved with matters involving state energy codes, which are the only means states have to assure some minimum level of energy efficiency in all new construction.


Understanding (a Few) of the Challenges of Implementing the Energy Code in Existing Buildings


Addressing building energy code compliance has proven to be a difficult task; one that becomes considerably more daunting when the subject is existing buildings. In the past year, BCAP has increased its focus on examining the challenges facing the implementation of the energy code in existing commercial buildings. The countless possibilities in existing building modifications underscore the impact that they can have on building energy performance.


Not Taking “No Can Do” For An Answer

These days it seems that all states are taking some flack as they work toward meeting their Recovery Act obligations by the year 2017, but some aren’t taking “no can do” for an answer. It’s not always easy, especially in home-rule states where current law prohibits the state from adopting a statewide code. But that didn’t stop the state of Illinois, which passed legislation in 2009 to remove the local home-rule jurisdiction over residential energy standards and adopt the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).


Nebraska Energy Code Compliance Collaborative: A Case Study On An Emerging Best Practice


In the wake of the Great Recession in 2009, Congress passed the Recovery Act to stimulate the national economy. Within that legislation, a pot of $3.1 billion in expanded State Energy Program (SEP) funding was linked to commitments from states to update their building energy codes and to develop plans to achieve greater rates of compliance by 2017. By January 2014, BCAP projects that about two of every three U.S. states will have implemented building energy codes that meet or exceed the energy efficiency of the model codes referenced by the Recovery Act – the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007. In finding methods of reaching these goals, a common best practice emerged: establishing a state Energy Code Compliance Collaborative.


Code Officials Defeat Proposals To Rollback Historic Efficiency Gains In America’s Model Energy Code

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Sound energy policy prevailed as local and state governmental officials rejected dozens of builder-sponsored home efficiency rollback proposals in a three-day marathon meeting convened by the International Code Council (ICC) to develop the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).


New and Improved Energy Code Ambassador Program Launched In Ohio

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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.


Compliance Collaboratives Convene To Share Lessons Learned


On August 22, BCAP hosted an information sharing webinar on an emerging best practice in building energy codes: state Energy Code Compliance Collaboratives. A compliance collaborative is a forum for experts from diverse stakeholder groups impacted by energy codes to come together to work toward common interests and goals.


Omaha Residents Want Better Energy Codes


A new survey found that Omaha residents overwhelmingly favor improved energy efficiency through updated energy codes for new homes and buildings. The study comes at a key time as Omaha’s City Council is set to vote on requiring greater energy efficiency in new homes, allowing homeowners to keep thousands of dollars in reduced energy bills as early as August.


2013 Mayors Resolution Supports Stronger 2015 IECC

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With hard-fought efficiency gains at stake, the U.S. Conference of Mayors voted unanimously to encourage municipal support for all eligible code officials to attend the ICC’s Final Action Hearings this October in Atlantic City to support continued efficiency gains for America’s model energy code, the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The local and state code and other officials voting at the hearings will consider amendments to the 2012 IECC)that will become the 2015 IECC. The IECC is recognized in federal law as America’s model energy code and is adopted in some form by nearly every state.


Alliance Announces SEEA’s ‘Graduation’ Into Standalone Entity


Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan announced that the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA), the Alliance’s wholly-owned subsidiary created to advance energy efficiency in the Southeast, will become a standalone entity on January 1, 2014. Callahan made the announcement about the future of SEEA during the Alliance’s EE Global Forum held in Washington, DC.


BCAP Promotes Consumer Awareness Campaign In Capitol Briefing


On March 20, BCAP participated in a congressional briefing hosted by the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) on consumer attitudes toward energy codes. The event included presentations by Maureen Guttman of the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP), Stacy Weisfeld of Consumers Union, and Laura Richardson of the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning.


2009 Energy Code Adoptions Required by ARRA – Where Are They Now?


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.


2012 Winners Of The Excellence In Energy Code Compliance Award

On October 22, 2012, the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) and the Global Buildings Performance Network (GBPN) recognized the inaugural winners of the Excellence in Energy Code Compliance Award at the International Code Council’s Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon. This new award program honors state and local jurisdictions that have raised compliance with energy codes using smart, cost-effective strategies.


Success Story: California Dreams: Title 24 Energy Code On Target For Net Zero Energy Standards Goal By 2020


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).


Success Story: Kansas City Pushes Strong Energy Code Update To Spur Metropolitan Area In Home Rule State


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.


South Carolina – A Model Of Successful Stakeholder Collaboration In Energy Code Adoption


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.


Alabama Energy Code Ambassadors Program To Expand In 2012


As Alabama looks to adopt its first mandatory statewide energy code in 2012, several stakeholder groups also look forward to expanding the Alabama Energy Codes Ambassadors Program (ECAP). Through an additional grant, PNNL has provided funds for travel expenses for ECAP trainees through April 2012. ECAP was established to train code officials who can provide technical assistance and training to code officials in other local jurisdictions. The program aims to train code officials to act as “peer-to-peer” mentors to assist in spreading greater knowledge of the energy codes and their enforcement. ECAP began as a partnership program between BCAP and the ICC to help better enforcement the model energy codes in order to meet 90% compliance by 2017.


Alliance Names Architect Maureen Guttman Head Of Building Codes Assistance Project and Sr. Director Of Buildings Programs


The Alliance to Save Energy is pleased to announce that Maureen Guttman, AIA, is the new executive director of its Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP), a joint initiative of the Alliance, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the Natural Resources Defense Council. An architect by training with 25 years’ experience in energy-efficient and green building design, Guttman is also the Alliance’s new senior director of building programs.


Just Released: The Combined 2012 IECC/ASHRAE 90.1-2010


The International Code Council (ICC) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) have collaborated to create a publication containing both the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code(IECC) and ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2010 Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings in one volume.


Alliance To Save Energy Hails 25-30% Advance In 2012 Energy Code For New and Renovated Residential, Commercial Buildings


Washington, D.C., July 28, 2011 – The Alliance to Save Energy today hailed a newly-released model building energy code upgrade that will improve energy use in commercial and residential buildings in the United States by as much as 30%. The landmark 30% improvement for new and renovated residential buildings is included in the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), which also would increase the energy efficiency of commercial buildings by about 25% when compared to the 2006 version of the code.


New Model Energy Code Will Boost Energy Efficiency

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The votes that will have the most profound impact on national energy and environmental policy this year were not held in Washington or a state capital, but by governmental officials assembled by the International Code Council (ICC) in Charlotte, NC,” said William Fay, Executive Director of the broad-based Energy Efficient Codes Coalition (EECC).