The purpose of energy codes
The implementation of building energy codes serves one major purpose: saving energy. Buildings are a relatively untapped source for energy savings, as the construction and operation of buildings in the U.S. accounts for over 40% of all domestic energy consumed. Reducing the energy used by buildings can save money for homeowners, companies, and other property owners who can them reinvest in the economy.
There is no denying the potential to save money through more progressive energy codes. BCAP’s Incremental Cost Analysis has shown that, given an appropriate payback period, the financial savings from a home built to the model energy codes will be higher in the long run than the initial upfront cost increase. The property value of energy efficient buildings will also be greater than those that don’t meet model codes, as more consumers and businesses look to live and work in comfortable, efficient spaces. This “low-hanging fruit” is easily attainable, as stricter codes are the fastest and cheapest method to significantly reduce energy costs.
It is critical that building energy code provisions are consistent and that conflicts between codes are minimal. The ICC’s and ASHRAE’s iterative code development process minimizes potential conflicts by giving stakeholders an opportunity to evaluate new technologies, explore construction challenges, and engage in an open discussion – both during code hearings and the intervening months.