Article

06/24/13

Mayors Urge Cities to Strengthen Energy Code; Oppose Proposals that Weaken Historic 30% Gains

With the 2012 ​International Energy Conservation Code's (IECC) hard-fought 30% efficiency gains at stake, the U.S. Conference of Mayors voted unanimously to encourage municipal support for all eligible code officials to attend the International Code Council’s Final Action Hearings this October in Atlantic City to support continued efficiency gains for America’s model energy code, the IECC. The local and state code and other officials voting at the hearings will consider amendments to the 2012 IECC that will become the 2015 IECC. The IECC is recognized in federal law as America’s model energy code and is adopted in some form by nearly every state.

Specifically, the mayors’ resolution endorses the adoption of the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition proposal – called “Builder Flex Beyond the 2012” – and opposes the adoption of proposals that backslide from the 2012 IECC’s stringency.  Several backsliding proposals were recommended for inclusion in the 2015 IECC at a hearing this spring, including one that could wipe out nearly all of the 30% efficiency gains by reinstating a builder loophole that would allow them to build homes with weaker thermal envelopes.

In support of mayoral support for continued building energy efficiency gains, the resolution finds that:

  • Homes and commercial buildings are America’s largest energy consuming sector,
  • U.S. Department of Energy determined that the 2012 IECC reduces an average home’s energy costs by 32.1% and “generates life-cycle savings for homeowners averaging from $4,763 to $33,105,”
  • Continued gains from building energy efficiency and appliance standards can eliminate the need for new power plant construction through 2025, and
  • 9 out of 10 homebuyers answering a National Association of Homebuilders survey said they will pay 2-3% more to buy a home “with energy-efficient features and permanently lower utility bills.”

The U.S. Conference of Mayors represents more than 1,300 mayors across the nation.

Below is the text of the Conference of Mayor’s Resolution No. 42 - Adopted June 24, 2013:

Endorsing the Maximum Achievable Building Energy Efficiency Improvements in the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code

Submitted by The Honorable Miguel Pulido, Mayor of Santa Ana

WHEREAS, America’s mayors have long recognized the importance of energy efficiency in the development of a successful national energy policy; and

WHEREAS, homes and commercial buildings are America’s largest energy consuming sector – using over 40 percent of the nation’s energy, 54 percent of its natural gas and 75 percent of its electricity; and

WHEREAS, the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) is the most widely used model energy code for residential construction in the U.S., establishing minimum efficiency measures that are voluntarily adopted by over 40 states; and

WHEREAS, the IECC is currently undergoing a review and revision process of the 2012 IECC, culminating in final votes by ICC Governmental Members represented by code and other officials from cities, counties and states in October 2013 in Atlantic City, NJ; and

WHEREAS, the 2012 IECC achieved historic residential efficiency gains of 30 percent that were long sought by mayors, the Western Governors Association, ASHRAE, the U.S. EPA/DOE National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency, the National Association of State Energy Officials, the American Institute of Architects, the Business Roundtable, the Alliance to Save Energy and by leaders in Congress from both parties; and

WHEREAS, analyses by The U.S. Department of Energy found that the 2012 IECC yields “positive benefits for U.S. homeowners and significant energy savings for the nation,” and that moving from the 2006 IECC to the 2012 IECC reduces average energy costs by 32.1% and generates life-cycle savings for homeowners averaging from $4,763 to $33,105 (depending on climate zone); and

WHEREAS, after the 2012 IECC was completed, an analysis by the non-profit Institute for Electric Efficiency found that continued savings of the magnitude of recent efficiency gains in building energy codes and appliance standards “will completely offset the anticipated growth in demand in America’s residential, commercial, and industrial sectors combined, eliminating the need for additional power plants to serve these sectors through 2025;” and

WHEREAS, a February 2013 National Association of Homebuilders survey of what home buyers want found that “nine out of ten buyers would rather buy a home with energy-efficient features and permanently lower utility bills than one without those features that costs 2% to 3% less;” and

WHEREAS, the broad-based Energy Efficient Codes Coalition has proposed a new approach to future code improvements – called “Builder Flex Beyond the 2012” – which allows homebuilders the flexibility to choose from a menu of options to achieve 5% or more in energy savings once they have complied with the current prescriptive or performance paths in the 2012 IECC; and

WHEREAS, at its first round of code development hearings, some of the IECC Residential Energy Committee recommendations would result in a 2015 IECC that would weaken the 30% gains achieved in the 2012 IECC and which, if adopted, would mark the first time an updated IECC would be weaker in stringency than its predecessor IECC; and

WHEREAS, at its Final Action Hearings this fall in Atlantic City, NJ the International Code Council (ICC) voting representatives, made up primarily of municipal code officials, will consider these Residential Energy Committee recommendations and will vote to establish the 2015 IECC; and

WHEREAS, the nature of the voting membership of the ICC puts mayors in a unique position to encourage the eligible code officials from their cities to participate in the ICC deliberations and vote to oppose rollbacks in the IECC and in support of reasonable efficiency measures, such as those outlined in Builder Flex Beyond the 2012; and

WHEREAS, the 2015 IECC will strongly influence efficiency performance in millions of U.S. homes expected to be built in the U.S. over their 70-80 year lives,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors endorses the adoption of Builder Flex Beyond the 2012 and opposes the adoption of proposals that backslide from the 2012 IECC’s stringency at the ICC’s Final Action Hearings this October in Atlantic City.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors encourages municipal support for all eligible code officials to attend these hearings and to vote in favor of continued efficiency gains for America’s model energy code, the IECC.