Energy Codes Need Your Help!
As elected officials consider how to put their communities on a path to a healthier fiscal and environmental future, there has been a surge of interest in updating energy codes. Supporters of green building design should get engaged and help their cities and states make these updates.
First, a quick note about what energy codes are: energy codes are part of the rules that set minimum requirements for building homes and commercial buildings. Energy codes typically address the ‘thermal envelope’ of a building and have requirements for ventilation, windows, doors, and insulation. They are also ‘life safety codes’ designed to protect occupants. They provide what the authorizing agency sets as a minimum standard of ‘green’ for efficiency and air quality in new construction and significant remodels.
How do energy codes help local governments and citizens? Updated energy codes generate significant utility bill savings through increased insulation, air sealing, and energy efficiency. That means more money in homeowners’ or tenants’ pockets and what may be the fastest, cheapest way to reducing emissions in homes and government buildings. The US Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution in June 2018 that urges greater attention to energy codes. The Mayors noted that energy codes “provide measurable and permanent energy savings and emissions reductions over the century-long life spans of these buildings.”
While some states reliably update their energy codes every few years, many have not had substantial changes since 2009/2010 when improvements in energy codes were tied to federal stimulus dollars. 10 years later, builders are experienced in meeting and surpassing the requirements of the energy code.
However, without public support these changes may not happen. In every state there are a small number of those who fight against updating the code – whether because they oppose any form of government regulation, because new codes may require taking time to re-train workers, or because they worry it may increase building costs. That is why your elected officials need to hear from you that you support building efficiently.
You can help by reaching out to your state building commission or code council and telling them to adopt the latest edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The status of your State Energy Code Adoption and links to the relevant state agencies are here. Or get in touch with your regional energy efficiency partnership:
- Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA)
- Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA)
- Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA)
- Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP)
- South-Central Partnership for Energy Efficiency as a Resource (SPEER)
Code officials and local elected officials can also vote on proposals for next version of the IECC – more information on getting involved is available here.
Reader Energy Code Advocacy Hits Mark – Your Participation Made a Difference
Working closely with the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE), www.GreenBuildingSolutions.org helped register more “Governmental Entities” to vote for energy efficiency than ever before. According to the ICC, over 1,000 governmental entities registered over last year’s numbers. End of this year energy code online voting (November Energy Code) is strictly limited to those who registered by March 29, 2019. We wanted to register as many energy-efficiency-favoring municipal, county and state officials as possible. By doing so, we can help turn out the vote this November for energy efficiency improvements to the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code. GreenBuildingSolutions.org thanks its participating readers and sharers.