The newest building energy code, which will govern how much energy and money is saved by new home and commercial building owners, was recently approved by code officials—and by and large, they voted to uphold the great efficiency gains made in past code cycles.
The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) is the model building energy code recognized by the Department of Energy (DOE) and cited in federal law. It is updated every three years through a stakeholder process involving code officials, builders, efficiency advocates, and other interested parties. The process for developing the newest code has been underway for more than a year: proposals for the 2018 IECC went through multiple rounds of hearings and public comments before building code officials from around the country got the final vote. Once the model code is developed, it’s then up to state and local jurisdictions to adopt and enforce the codes. The IECC is used by more than 40 states.
What are energy codes, anyway?
Building energy codes set specific requirements for the energy use of a building at the time of construction or during a major renovation. Codes are important because it’s much easier and less expensive to make energy efficient improvements while a home is under construction. Once something like insulation or windows is installed in a home, it’s likely to be a decade or more before they are replaced, and codes help make sure that efficient choices are made from the start. Codes have proven to be an incredibly effective tool to reduce energy use in homes and businesses, saving Americans money and reducing harmful pollution. A home built to the 2012 code uses about half of the energy as a standard home constructed in 1975—but there’s still room for improved efficiency.
Read more (NRDC)