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. In December 2014, SPEER doubled the number of its Energy Code Ambassadors from the previous year’s inaugural class.
John Umphress, Building Code Official with the city of Austin and one of SPEER’s 2013 Ambassadors, provided the two-day training to the new class of Ambassadors. This wasn’t Umphress’ first time training local code officials. In fact, Umphress was recently highlighted as an Energy Code Champion for providing assistance and training on the benefits of energy efficient building codes to local building professionals in Texas for more than 30 years. With Umphress and his fellow SPEER Ambassadors, Oklahoma and Texas now have 24 Ambassadors including building officials, homebuilders, and third-party inspectors who are ready to support energy codes and provide energy code advice and resources to their peers in the building community.
Expansion of the Energy Code Ambassadors Program (ECAP) in the South-central states is significant precisely because of the collaboration of this diverse group of building professionals, working together to improve compliance with the energy codes. “ECAP training has brought these two dynamics together… being able to communicate with other builders, code officials, third party inspectors, and code organizations in a group setting brings questions, solutions, and resources,” said Peter Walper, a builder and new Ambassador in the West Texas region—noting his experience both as a builder who understands hurdles to meet energy-efficient standards, and as a HERS rater, auditor, and Ambassador who understands the benefits of energy codes. 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.
The Energy Code Ambassadors Program (ECAP) is a program that started in 2009 as a collaborative pilot project by BCAP and the International Code Council (ICC). The program helps assure energy codes are enforced at the local level by creating an effective peer-to-peer network where trained Ambassadors educate colleagues in their regions on how best to ensure compliance. There are currently approximately 60 Ambassadors in eight states.