Article Date: 09/13/2013

Energy Code Activity Expected to Abound in Populous States Next Year

By Steve Rizer


Expect to see “very efficient” new energy codes being adopted or implemented in several populous states next year. That is one of the predictions that Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP) Senior Program Manager Maria Ellingson and Paul Karrer, BCAP’s project manager for national advocacy, made during an interview with ConstructionPro Week (CPW).  


Among the states where BCAP foresees adoption or implementation of “very efficient” new codes in 2014 are California, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, and Virginia. Ellingson and Karrer jointly noted that “[W]e’ll also be following update processes in several other states that will likely make 2014 an even bigger year in code adoption than 2013.”


BCAP projects that next January, 11 states will have adopted a commercial code and six states will have adopted a residential code that mirrors or is similar to the energy-efficiency standards of 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 90.1-2010. In January 2015, the number of states that will have adopted these codes is expected to reach 21 for commercial structures and 18 for their residential counterparts.


In addition, BCAP predicted that by January, 27 states will have adopted a commercial code and 26 states will have adopted a residential code that mirrors or is similar to the energy-efficiency standards of 2009 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1-2007. In January 2015, the number of states that will have adopted these codes is expected to reach 18 for the commercial structures and 17 for their residential counterparts.


As of last January, 36 states had in place codes that met or exceeded the energy savings of 2009 IECC/ASHRAE 90.1-2007 or later standards. In a number of “home rule” states that do not adopt statewide codes, dozens of local jurisdictions have taken similar policy adoption actions.


Most states and local jurisdictions adopt energy codes based on model energy codes that are developed every three years at the national level, IECC and ASHRAE Standard 90.1. New editions of these codes are published every three years to keep pace with advancements in energy-efficient products and construction practices. As a condition of receiving funding, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) required states to adopt energy codes that at least meet the efficiency of the 2009 IECC and ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007 and develop plans to achieve 90 percent compliance with them by 2017.


BCAP tracks code updates on its commercial and residential state code status maps, which can be accessed at http://energycodesocean.org/code-status-commercial and http://energycodesocean.org/code-status-residential, respectively.


“While there was a big leap forward in state and local energy code adoptions in 2009-2011 due to the funding and attention derived from ARRA, 2012 was a much slower year for code updates,” Ellingson and Paul Karrer reported . “In 2013, we’ve seen the biggest push yet to adopt the latest model code versions -- the 2012 IECC and ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2010.”


Toward the end of maximizing compliance, BCAP has facilitated the formation of “energy code compliance collaboratives” (ECCCs) in Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Texas. An ECCC is a forum for experts from diverse stakeholder groups impacted by energy codes to gather and work toward common interests and goals. A collaborative is intended to serve as a long-term multi-year initiative to assist its state in implementing a plan to achieve full compliance with energy codes.


The ConstructionPro Network member version of this article includes a transcript of CPW's interview with Ellingson and Karrer. To sign up for a membership, click here.



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