Building Energy Codes Working Group
The Building Energy Codes Working Group leads the State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network's (SEE Action) efforts to increase the adoption of and compliance with building energy codes and standards for new buildings and renovations to existing buildings. The Building Energy Codes Working Group is addressing several key challenges in increasing adoption of codes including:
- Statewide adoption
- Voluntary adoption
- Stretch codes
- Ensuring an increase in compliance with what is adopted.
The priorities of the Building Energy Codes Working Group are outlined in a blueprint, which describes key information and technical needs of states, municipalities, and their partners; and identifies the specific steps that SEE Action can take to address those needs.
Working Group Scope and Goals
The activities of the Building Energy Codes Working Group target both adoption and compliance. The goals include:
- Qualitative: All buildings will be designed and constructed to the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) 2012 and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 90.1-2010, and their compliance with those documents will be readily verifiable on an annual basis
- Quantitative: In 2020, all new buildings and renovations to existing buildings—in all 50 states—will be compliant with IECC 2012 and ASHRAE 90.1-2010.
- Mid-term Goal (2013): At least 30 states have adopted the 2009 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1-2007 or equivalent, and three states have adopted 2012 IECC/90.1-2010. Fifteen states have evaluated compliance by building type and system and have 90% compliance plans in place.
Priority Solutions and Actions
Given adoption and compliance takes place on the state and local levels, priority solutions will be developed and implemented on the state and local levels through strategic teaming. The Building Energy Codes Working Group has agreed upon a two-fold approach of:
- Increase adoption of model codes and stretch codes
- Increase compliance with adopted codes.
This approach will need to be custom tailored, as many states currently have different processes (or in some case no processes) for updating building codes and measuring compliance.
- Drive model and stretch code update processes:
- Solution 1: Develop adoption strategies focused on energy/cost savings impacts, while branching out to new audiences such as the general public
- Solution 2: Strategically team stakeholders to implement best practices for code adoption at the state or local level.
- Increase compliance with existing codes:
- Solution 3: Increase the number and availability of compliance guides and field measurement tools
- Solution 4: Develop and distribute training plans
- Solution 5: Understand and share best practices for funding code enforcement.
Learn more about the Building Energy Codes Working Group's priority solutions and actions.
Impact on Energy Efficiency
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the projected 2020 energy consumption for all residential and commercial buildings is 41.3 quadrillion (quads) British thermal unit. However, meeting the Building Energy Codes Working Group goals would:
- Save 0.45 quads of energy by 2020
- Capture 50% of the total estimated potential energy savings in the adoption and compliance of the model codes by 2020.
For more information on the Building Codes Working Group, contact:
- Saralyn Bunch, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
- Kym Carey, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
- Niko Dietsch, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency