State and Federal Policy

Energy codes and state policy

State-level policies on building energy codes vary widely across the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories, and can sometimes even within states. In most cases codes are adopted through a legislative process (i.e. the code is updated by a bill that is passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor), a regulatory process (i.e. the legislature has granted a state agency the power to issue a code), or – most commonly -through a process that combines elements of both. Some of the codes in place are state-developed and thus take into account state-specific concerns, such as climate, the state’s economy and history, and the anticipated impact on the local building industry. Many other states adopt state-specific amendments to the national model building energy codes: the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and ASHRAE Standard 90.1. To learn more about this topic, including the specific policies in place within each state, please visit BCAP’s Policy Action Toolkit.

What policies are specific to our state?

Given the wide variation in state-level policies, BCAP has developed individual pages for each of the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories. Each page contains detailed information on the state’s current energy code policy, its energy code history, the process for changing and updating the state’s energy codes, local jurisdiction code adoption within the state, relevant links and contact information, and discussion on other energy code topics. You can also use these maps to compare state energy codes across the nation.

Federal policies on energy codes

While there is currently no mandatory national energy code for residential or commercial buildings, the US Department of Energy (DOE) provides support for states and local jurisdictions to adopt and implement the two model energy codes. This support includes outreach, training, compliance software tools, and financial assistance.

Partnerships with the Department of Energy

DOE works closely with the two nationally recognized member-based organizations that develop the model energy codes – the International Code Council (ICC) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE) – as well as with other energy code organizations, to develop more stringent and easier-to-understand building energy codes. These groups identify innovative and emergent energy efficient technologies and practices and work to remove barriers to including these technologies in the national model energy codes.

With each updated edition of the IECC and ASHRAE Standard 90.1, DOE issues determinations about whether the new edition will improve energy efficiency in new buildings. If DOE finds that the newest version of the model energy code is more energy efficient than the previous version, the Energy Policy Act of 1992 requires states to certify that their building energy codes meet the requirements of the new code within two years.