Everyone wins when new homes are built to the most cost-effective and efficient standards. Studies show that rigorous energy codes are among the most cost-effective ways to improve energy efficiency and provide immediate cost savings to new home buyers. According to the Virginia factsheet from the Building Codes Assistance Project, the costs associated with the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) would be less than $2200. Amortized over a 30-year mortgage at today’s rates, that is less than $11 a month on the monthly mortgage bill. Couple that cost with the estimated energy bill savings of nearly $31 a month and homeowners would actually begin saving nearly $270 annually, before their second anniversary of home ownership.
Virginia’s building code is known as the Uniform State Building Code. The Department of Housing and Community Development manages the triennial code update process which includes two years of public meetings and board actions before the updated code is adopted. The 14 member Board of Housing and Community Development votes on the final content of the updated code. There is one member for each congressional district, which is appointed by the Governor to 3-year terms, and there are three ex-officio members representing Va. Fire Services Board, Va. Code Officials Association, and Virginia Housing Development Authority.
The latest USBC update will go into effect on September 4, 2018.
Given the delay in effective date for the current USBC update, it is unclear if the next update cycle will begin in 2019. We will keep you posted as we learn more.
However, we believe the DHCD will host a series of stakeholder meetings in 2019 to dive into whole building envelope testing, which is something we hope will be added during the next USBC update.
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