New Method Ensures the Effectiveness of Residential Building Energy Codes

June 13, 2012

Photo of a new house under construction.

The Energy Department recently released a new methodology for evaluating homeowner savings through residential energy codes.
Credit: Kenneth Kelly / NREL

The Energy Department recently released a new methodology for evaluating homeowner savings through residential energy codes. These codes are commonly adopted by states and local code enforcement jurisdictions across the nation to make homes more efficient and cheaper to power. DOE's new approach is based on a life-cycle analysis that balances initial costs with the longer-term savings these codes make possible. By demonstrating savings available to homeowners, this methodology will aid the adoption of cost-effective, energy-saving codes for residential buildings, and help families save money over the lifetime of their home.

The methodology provides policymakers with an estimate of the economic benefits of energy codes though a life-cycle cost assessment over a 30-year period, based on a set of parameters typical for an average mortgage. The assessment includes both single-family and multifamily buildings, as well as a variety of common building foundation and fuel types. Costs of efficiency measures are derived from the Energy Department's Residential Cost Database and balanced against energy cost savings, mortgage payments, and other financing impacts over the life of the home. DOE intends to use this new method to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of these residential energy codes. See the Energy Department's Progress Alert and the new Residential Code Methodology on the DOE's Building Energy Codes Program website.