One of the Most Innovative Energy Efficient Codes to Date: Thank You!

energy codesVoters and members, you have made your voice heard and the results are in. The upcoming 2021 building energy code is set to be one of the most innovative codes to date. You did it!

Prior to this announcement, building energy codes from the last decade did not achieve what’s now required to make a meaningful impact on our rapidly changing climate. But 2021 is going to mark a critically necessary change thanks to code officials, state and local government employees, sustainability offices, and YOU who have worked hard and recognized the lasting importance of energy efficiency in new buildings.

Here is how our world is changing as a direct result of your dedication and commitment:

  • Residential builders will be required to select from an additional package of efficiency improvements, focused on:
    • Enhanced building envelope
    • More efficient HVAC equipment performance
    • Reduced energy use in water heating
    • More efficient duct thermal distribution
    • Improved air sealing and efficient ventilation
  • Increased lighting efficiency in homes, additional lighting controls, and installation of multi-family exterior lighting:
    • Important changes regarding specifically horticultural lighting
    • This is most important because it improves building efficiency by closing a loophole in the IECC that exempts lighting for plant growth
    • The 2021 energy code cites a recent standard developed by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers for lighting used for plant growth. This can now be met with LED lighting.
  • Homes will be required to have a more compact water heating system
    • Home designers will be encouraged to present plans that place hot water heaters and hot water outlets closer together to shorten the length of pipe in which hot water sits and cools off
  • Electrification readiness will be required when installing fossil fuel appliances and higher efficiency water heating sources

According to the DOE, energy codes with modest updates over the years could save consumers $126 billion on their utility bills from 2010 to 2040.

Pictured: A diagram representing the different parts of a net-zero home. Source.

And another innovative change is set to create an optional appendix for local code adoption that will result in residential buildings producing as much clean energy as they consume.

This is just the beginning of more good news to come.