State Compliance Studies

The table at the bottom of this page contains a selective (though not exhaustive) collection of residential and commercial building energy code compliance studies conducted in states around the United States.

For a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy invested unprecedented levels of funding for energy code implementation and compliance measurement. As a condition of the Recovery Act, each of the 50 states accepting funding issued assurances to implement a plan to achieve 90% compliance with model energy codes by 2017, including training, enforcement programs, and annual measurement of the rate of compliance. In early 2010, the DOE announced an opportunity for states to participate in energy code compliance evaluation pilot studies. The intent of the studies was to help states with energy code compliance measurement efforts, provide insights into the effectiveness, and suggest methods for improving procedures and tools developed by DOE for measuring compliance. The pilot studies provided a valuable structure to identify potential national trends. DOE worked with five regional energy efficiency organizations (REEOs) to select from eligible states based on how well their proposals adhered to the criteria set up by the DOE. You can read the Department of Energy’s 90% Compliance Pilot Studies final report here.

In 2014, the DOE also released a Funding Opportunity Announcement for residential energy code field studies, the goal being to determine whether an investment in building energy code education, training, and outreach programs can produce a significant and measurable change in residential building energy savings. The eight states selected to participate in the project are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas. You can read more about the overview and highlights of this project here.

NOTE: Several of these studies evaluate compliance rates with energy code editions that are no longer in effect.


Energy Performance Evaluation of New Homes in Arkansas (1999)
From August 1997 to September 1999, 100 new Arkansas homes were evaluated in two areas in the state where there was significant building activity in order to determine the energy performance of current building practices. The study occurred before local adoption and enforcement of the Arkansas Energy Code became mandatory. Since then, there have been significant changes to the state code and its application.

The results of this study indicated that, overall, there was more work to do to increase the number of homes that comply with the minimums of the energy code. In the northwest region, 16 out of 26 (62 percent) homes failed compliance. In parts of the state where milder climates make it easier to meet the code, there were greater levels of compliance. In the central region, a survey of 45 homes indicated that 84 percent complied with the code.


Residential New Construction Baseline Study (2004)
This executive summary summarizes the findings of the 2003 Residential New Construction Baseline Study conducted by Itron, Inc. under Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) management. KEMA-Xenergy conducted the on-site surveys. The RNC baseline study investigates energy efficiency in newly constructed single family homes throughout California. The study’s primary purpose is to provide information to residential new construction (RNC) program managers across the state, thereby allowing them to assess and address the effect of recent energy code changes on these programs.

Statewide Codes and Standards Market Adoption and Noncompliance Rates (2007)
The goal of the study was to 1) refine the original estimates made of noncompliance, initial market penetration, and naturally occurring market adoption rates by researching and analyzing the factors contributing to each parameter; and 2) to test the 2006 California Energy Efficiency Evaluation Protocols (Evaluation Protocols) as it applies to determining net savings resulting from Program activities.


Evaluation of New Home Energy Efficiency (2002)
An assessment of the 1996 Fort Collins residential energy code and benchmark study of design, construction and performance for homes built between 1994 and 1999.


Connecticut 2011 Baseline Study of Single-Family Residential New Construction (2012)
This study was conducted to estimate as-built energy use characteristics for homes that were not part of the Energy Efficiency Fund New Construction Program (RNC) as a baseline for the RNC Program. Resulting information will be applied to estimation of the net effects of the RNC Program on efficiency improvements. Additionally, these results are used to establish preliminary estimates of User Defined Reference Home (UDRH) inputs to be used as baseline characteristics against which construction within the RNC Program can be compared. Findings are based on the results of on-site inspections, including Home Energy Rating System (HERS) ratings, of 69 homes that were not part of the RNC program, were completed from November 2009 through July 2011, and whose owners agreed to have their home inspected.


Measuring the Baseline Compliance Rate for Residential and Non-Residential Buildings in Illinois Against the 2009 IECC (2011)
Over the course of the 120-day project term, the APEC team evaluated a statistically-relevant sample of 44 residential buildings and a short-sample of 10 non-residential buildings across 35 distinct Illinois jurisdictions that have authority to adopt building codes. The compliance evaluation procedures and tools developed by the BECP were used to assess the implementation (i.e. enforcement) rates of the 2009 IECC in Illinois through measurement of the compliance rates of these buildings as they were submitted for plan review and then constructed in the aforementioned jurisdictions.

The goals of this study were threefold: 1) Provide feedback to the BECP on the implementation of the BECP protocol 2) Develop a preliminary pattern/range of the existing compliance rates of newly constructed residential dwellings and commercial buildings based on jurisdictions in Illinois that have adopted the building energy codes and 3) Identify areas where home performance and codes training and education activities could be improved or refocused.


Indiana Commercial Energy Code Baseline Study (2005)
The goal of the Indiana Commercial Energy Code Baseline Study was to assess current commercial building practice (e.g. lighting levels and building envelope compliance margins) and how it compared to the 2000 IECC. Due to the extended grant timeline, this comparison was modified to the 2003 IECC. The Indiana Department of Fire and Building Services worked in collaboration with the International Code Council (ICC) and Britt/Makela Group, Inc, under contract to ICC, to perform plan review and on-site field inspection of 55 new construction commercial buildings in key growth areas of Indiana.


Iowa Energy Code Evaluation Pilot Study Final Report (2011)
The primary goal of the energy code pilot program was to evaluate residential energy code compliance throughout the state of Iowa, and focused on the area of new residential construction. The evaluation utilized a mix of private third party energy raters, state building inspectors, and city and county building inspectors. The evaluations not only recorded energy code compliance, but also examined the logistics required to adequately perform residential energy code inspections.


Maine Residential New Construction Technical Baseline Study (2008)
Over the fall of 2007 and into early winter 2008, four accredited Maine Home Energy Rating System (HERS) providers sent five certified Energy Raters to visit 80 homes that had been built and occupied since January 1, 2005. Seventy-eight (78) energy ratings were finally used along with 76 homes from the supplemental Access database completed on each of these homes. The new homes program that is developed out of this study is intended to encourage the construction of homes that meet the Maine Energy Code at a minimum, and hopefully, are built to higher tiers ranging up to zero net energy consumption.


Impact Analysis of the Massachusetts 1998 Residential Energy Code Revisions (2001)
On March 1, 1998, a new residential energy conservation code went into effect in Massachusetts. This report presents the results of a study of compliance with this code and its impacts. The study has been conducted for the Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) by a team of consultants led by XENERGY, Inc.

Although new code provisions afford builders and architects greater design flexibility, they entail potentially greater complexity. Thus, the code revisions have the potential for yielding greater energy savings, but if there is inadequate compliance or enforcement, the benefits of the new code will be diminished. This study addresses the overall effects of the new code, taking into account the degree of code compliance, energy and air emission savings attributable to the new code, and the attitude of builders, code officials, and others toward the new code.


Energy Code Compliance in Minnesota 2012 2013 – Baseline for ARRA Compliance (2013)
From May of 2012 through June of 2013, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, Construction Codes and Licensing Division (CCLD), conducted an assessment of Energy Code compliance in accordance with the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) under contract with the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources. The objective of the contract was to assist the state in assessing the baseline for ARRA required compliance of new and renovated Residential and Commercial buildings, and to identify code enforcement procedural changes and/or training needs that would improve compliance rates.


Montana Residential Energy Code Compliance (2012)
This report describes the compliance of residential new construction in Montana with the revised state energy code, an amended version of the 2009 IECC. This effort to measure compliance has its roots in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which provided funding to states contingent upon a commitment to adopt the latest model energy codes and achieving 90% compliance with these codes by the year 2017.

North Dakota

North Dakota Residential Construction – Energy Efficiency Related Practices Report (2010)
The purpose of this study was to evaluate how closely current construction techniques in North Dakota meet or exceed nationally recognized building codes and identify areas on which to focus educational efforts to enable builders to meet building codes as they are updated.

With the potential inclusion of energy conservation/efficiency standards in the North Dakota State Building Code, an evaluation of current building practices would provide information on how closely structures are being built to the most current International Residential Code (IRC) and International Energy Conservation Codes (IECC). Not only will this information be important to professional builders, designers and homeowners it will also be valuable to educators, builder associations and state officials as they work to provide information to those impacted by building codes revisions.


Nebraska Commercial Energy Code Compliance Report for the 2009 IECC (2014)
The Nebraska Energy Office (NEO) commissioned Britt/Makela Group, Inc. (BMG) to assess compliance with the commercial provisions of the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The goals of the project were to assess compliance rates for projects that represented typical commercial construction in Nebraska and to collect information on energy code compliance issues that could be used to establish a framework for future energy code implementation programs in the state. The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) 90% Energy Code Compliance Methodology was used to guide the compliance study. Modifications were made to the methodology to fit the study into a prescribed time frame.

New York

The Costs and Benefits of Measuring If States Meet 90 Percent Compliance

New York Energy Code Compliance Study (2012)
This report presents the results of a Study on the rate of compliance with the New York State (NYS) energy code. The Study tested the protocols developed by the US Department of Energy to determine if NYS’s new and renovated residential and commercial buildings exceed the 90 percent compliance threshold that states will be will be required to meet by 2017 as part of ARRA legislation. This Study performed detailed plan review and field inspections on 44 newly constructed residential and 26 new commercial buildings. The study also included interviews with policy makers, contractors, engineers, architects, and code officials; and surveys of architects, homeowners, builders, and code officials who planned, constructed and inspected renovations. The report found that the building energy code compliance rate for buildings built under the ECCCNYS – 2007 energy code is below 90 percent. The Study concludes that changes in focus and operation will need to be made by the federal government, NYS, local jurisdictions, builder/contractors, and design professionals if NYS is going to meet the 90 percent compliance level for the new, stricter energy codes that became effective in December 2010.

This study was also revised in January 2014.


Energy Code Enforcement and Compliance in Pennsylvania: Lessons from the Field (July 2008)
This report was prepared by the Pennsylvania Housing Research Center (PHRC) to describe its energy code technical assistance pilot program and communicate the findings of an energy code enforcement and compliance study. This project consisted of an energy code technical assistance program for municipalities across Pennsylvania, and an assessment of common energy code enforcement and building practices. An additional function was to estimate the energy performance of typical new homes in Pennsylvania through field testing and computer modeling.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island Energy Code Compliance Baseline Study (2012)
The Rhode Island Energy Code Compliance Baseline Study was undertaken to investigate energy code compliance. The Study Team collaborated with the State of Rhode Island Office of the Building Commissioner and National Grid to determine study goals and to develop a research plan. This report provides the results for the Rhode Island Energy Code Compliance Baseline Study for the review of the commercial energy code compliance rate within the State of Rhode Island.

Rhode Island 2011 Baseline Study of Single-Family Residential New Construction (2012)
The 2011 Baseline study was conducted with several objectives in mind. The primary objective was to provide a study of the characteristics of single-family homes recently completed in Rhode Island and permitted under the 2009 IECC that did not participate in the Rhode Island Residential New Construction Program (RNC Program) that can be used to update User Defined Reference Home (UDRH) assumptions used in calculating Program savings.


Residential Building Energy Standards Compliance Analysis (2009)
The objective of this report is to assess the compliance of newly-constructed single-family homes with the Vermont Residential Building Energy Standards (RBES). This analysis is part of a broader study of the single-family residential new construction market in Vermont.


Commercial Code Evaluation Pilot Studies (2016)
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance contracted Ecotope, Inc. to conduct a small pilot study to develop and test a methodology for commercial energy code evaluation. This objective supports the growing focus on energy code as a key strategy for meeting energy planning and performance goals.

The researchers point out that code is successful to the degree that it is well-developed, adopted in a timely manner, supported in implementation and broadly accepted by market actors (i.e., compliance), and that a competent methodology must address each of these elements.

Typically, current approaches to code assessment have focused only on measuring compliance. The methodology developed from this study embodies a more broad-based, integrated approach, including a cost-effective field review and compliance assessment of completed buildings with additional assessments of the enforcement/implementation environment, and post-occupancy energy performance.


MEEA/BCAP Pilot Energy Study: 90% Compliance Commercial Building (2011)
Forty-five commercial buildings were evaluated for compliance with the 2009 IECC/ASHRAE 90.1-2007 between October 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011. The overall average compliance rate for the final study is 95%. Two of the buildings were below 90% compliance while the rest were in a range of 92% – 100%.