USA

Link to full info sheet as PDF

Code Development

Summary

In the United States, the national model energy codes began in 1975, with ASHRAE Standard 90-75. Model energy codes are developed by two private sector organizations: the American Society for Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the International Codes Council. ASHRAE focusses mainly on commercial codes, while the ICC mainly facilitates development of residential codes. States adopt model codes, at which point they become standards.

Start Year

Exact Start Year

1975

Start Year Range

< 1980

Revision Schedule

Yes, a revision schedule exists

Revision Schedule Explanation

National model codes are updated on a three year cycle. 

Existing Code Coverage

  • Commercial
  • Residential
Stakeholder Engagement

  • Working group
  • Technical Committee
  • Websites
  • Public Meeting or Conference or Newsletter
Best Practices

  • New Buildings
  • Existing Buildings

Code Implementation - Compliance & Enforcement

Administrative/Enforcement Structures

Enforcement model: a mix of approaches. In the United States, administration and enforcement of energy codes is typically the responsibility of state or local governments. The most common structure is that the state adopts the code, but the local government enforces it. However, there are cases where local governments adopt their own codes and cases where the state enforces the code within the state. There is a role for private sector/third party enforcement in some jurisdictions. 

Compliance Checking on Design

Yes, compliance is checked on Design

Compliance Checking on Construction

Yes, compliance is checked on Construction

Compliance Checking on Pre-Occupancy

NA, compliance varies by jurisdiction – refer to country information sheet for details

Air Tightness testing

Yes, Air Tightness is tested

Commissioning before occupancy

Yes, commissioning is happening before occupancy

Commissioning after occupancy

NA, Check Country Information Sheet for details

Compliance Software Residential

Yes, Software exists

Name of Software

REScheck, the REMrate or REMdesign (for low-rise residential buildings)

Short description

The U.S. Department of Energy’s software tool REScheck (for low-rise residential buildings), is maintained by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and available at www.energycodes.gov. This software is not mandatory.  

Compliance Software Non-Residential

Yes, Software exists

Name of Software

COMcheck (for commercial buildings)

Short description

The US Department of Energy software COMcheck (for commercial buildings), is maintained by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and available at www.energycodes.gov. This software is not required. For commercial buildings, users of whole building performance-based approaches may also use any building energy simulation tool of their choice as long as that tool has been tested according to ASHRAE Standard 140 and meets the requirements listed in the code.

Penalties for non-compliance

  • Refusal Permission to construct
  • Refusal Permission to occupy
  • Other

Other penalties

Some jurisdictions impose fines

Short description

Builders may have posted bond forfeited if the building does not achieve energy targets.

Incentives and Recognition program for compliance

  • Awards/Grants/Tax Breaks
  • Finance/Loans/Ratings

Short description

Utility programs offer money in exchange for particular improvements to buildings. The property assessed clean energy (PACE) program helps pay for renovations and other programs for offering lower interest rate loans for energy efficient construction. There are also a number of programs like Energy Star in commercial buildings that essentially offer recognition for improved building performance. 

Compliance Rate monitoring

Yes, it exists

Short description

A recent study conducted by DOE is available at: http://www.energycodes.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Compliance%20Pi....

Compliance Rate Publicised

Yes, it exists

Short description

Studies available online for individual states. See for example, the results of 4 compliance studies conducted for the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) in Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon at http://neea.org/initiatives/codes-standards/codes/code-compliance.  

Compliance Lessons Learned

Yes, it exists

Short description

Results of compliance studies are used to provide directed training. DOE is conducting a project designed to figure out the cost-effectiveness of training, education and outreach.

Compliance Energy Use Statistics

Yes, it exists

Short description

Assessment methodology is available at: www.energycodes.gov/compliance. Statistics on residential permitting are available at: http://censtats.census.gov/ 

Compliance Rate in %

NA, Check Country Information Sheet for details

Capacity Building and Education

Awareness Raising

  • Awareness raising
  • Resourse kits
  • Compliance Training
  • Online resources -
  • Professional Curriculum

Short description

DOE offers education and capacity building through its www.energycodes.gov website. ICC and ASHRAE offer training through their websites. Many states and third-party organizations also offer training. (See http://www.energycodes.gov/adoption/states for listing of individual states with links to individual state energy offices through which training is provided). There are also a number of organizations (at the federal, state, and local levels) that promote building better buildings.

Building materials

Building Materials Ratings

  • Tested by certified test labs
  • Random sampling

Short description

Building materials are rated in the United States. Random sampling of materials is used with testing conducted by certified laboratories. There are labels for windows, and labels are required on some types of insulation. 

Energy Performance Certificates

EPC Implementation

NA, Check Country Information Sheet for details