Championing Better Building Codes
Although state and local jurisdictions across the US have been adopting increasingly more stringent energy codes in recent years, compliance with them lags behind. Developing strong energy codes, and then ensuring that buildings actually comply with the requirements, is one of the most important, and cost-effective means to increase long-term energy efficiency in buildings and substantially reduce energy use and costs in the US.
By the year 2035, about 75% of the US building stock will be either new or renovated. The energy efficiency and performance requirements of today's building codes therefore have an immense impact on the buildings of tomorrow.
Unlike the EU’s Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings, there is currently no equivalent framework enabling the uniform implementation of such measures to improve building energy efficiency in the U.S. However, a range of national, state, and local government initiatives are underway to promote energy efficiency in buildings. The private sector also plays an important role in both high-performance building research and policy development and adoption.
The building sector and Climate Change
According to our survey “Energy efficiency and energy savings: a view from the building sector", a majority of business leaders in the U.S. consider reducing carbon emissions a core business responsibility, though this is less than in other regions of the world. While more than eight in ten executives in the European Union, India and China agree that cutting carbon emissions is an important business responsibility, in the US, barely 60% of respondents to the survey are of that opinion.
The respondents’ attitude reflects the complexity of the political process in the U.S. Because of the lack of clear national goals or policies related to building energy efficiency and its impact on climate change, the American building sector presents unique challenges and opportunities in terms of advancing new roadmaps for ambitious building energy performance policies, with much of the innovation being driven at the local and regional level.
To find out more about the context in the U.S.: imt.org
IMT has identified three prevailing work focus areas, representing the greatest potential for major energy use mitigations and savings across the United States:
- Building energy code compliance
- Building energy code design and development
- Building energy rating and disclosure policies
For that purpose, the U.S. programme aims to advance national and regional policy roadmaps which can accelerate market transformation by mainstreaming progress toward net-zero energy buildings and deeper retrofitting.
In addition, it provides best practices and recommendations that support:
- Increased state/local energy code compliance and enforcement
- Evolution to performance-based energy codes and compliance practices to set the stage for NZE building codes
- The development of policies and tools such as building energy rating and disclosure, to increase market transparency and awareness of building performance
Project Highlight: Building Energy Code Compliance
IMT is working assiduously to drive up compliance rates with building energy codes. In 2012, the U.S. Hub launched the “Excellence in Energy Code Compliance Awards”, an annual award programme recognizing U.S. jurisdictions that have had great success at improving code compliance on a limited budget. The 2012 awards were granted to three jurisdictions at the International Code Council Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon.
The U.S. Hub has developed a rich set of resources on energy code compliance, aimed at building officials, builders and contractors, and architects. These are available in both print and online formats. In addition, U.S. Hub staff have organized and led targeted trainings on energy code compliance, and are currently working on a coordinated nationwide outreach campaign targeting diverse stakeholders.
For further information about the GBPN U.S. Programme, visit IMT’s website: imt.org
- [Report] Leveraging Building Energy Codes to Maximize Savings
- [Report] Owners of Energy-Efficient Homes are less Likely to Default on Mortgages
- [Report] Framework for Comparing Energy Rating Systems
- [Report] Energy Efficiency Efforts in U.S. Buildings Should Focus on Improvements in Regulation and Financing
- [Report] Achieving Scale With Energy Efficiency in the U.S.: New Video
- [Report] Key Synergies that Drive Building Energy Performance
- [Tool] New Building Rating Website: Redesign of the Leading Online Resource for Building Energy Benchmarking Policies
Related Report Bundles
- Building Energy Efficiency: Best Practice Policies and Policy Packages
- Achieving Scale in Energy-efficient Buildings in US: A View from the Construction and Real Estate Sectors
- Linking Building Energy Codes With Benchmarking and Disclosure Policies, Key Synergies that Drive Building Energy Performance
In the context of climate change mitigation, the abatement potential is the amount of mitigation that could be reduced over time. [Source: IPCC]
Deep Renovation or Deep Energy Renovation is a term for a building renovation that captures the full economic energy efficiency potential of improvements. This typically includes a focus on the building shell of existing buildings in order to achieve very high-energy performance. The renovated building consumes 75% less primary energy compared to the status of the existing building before the renovation. The energy consumption after renovation for heating, cooling, ventilation, hot water and lighting, is less than 60 kWh/m2/yr. (Definition often used in Europe) [Source: GBPN, 2012]
The calculated or measured amount of energy needed to meet the energy demand associated with a typical use of the buildings, which includes inter alia, energy used for heating, cooling, ventilation, hot water and lighting (EU). [Source: EPBD recast, 2010/31/EU]
NZEB are buildings that over a year are neutral, meaning that they deliver as much energy to the supply grids as they use from the grids. Seen in these terms they do not need any fossil fuel for heating, cooling, lighting or other energy uses although they sometimes draw energy from the grid. [Source: IEA (Laustsen J.) (2008) Energy Efficiency Requirements in Building Codes, Energy Efficiency Policies for New Buildings.]
Rating and disclosure refers to the practice of evaluating the relative energy efficiency of a home or building and making this information known to consumers. The mechanism aims to raise consumer awareness about energy performance of and encourage building energy improvements through greater market transparency. [Source: Institute for Market Transformation]