Codes and Standards | Alliance to Save Energy

Codes and Standards

Built Environment

A lot of energy consumption happens indoors, making buildings an important target for energy efficiency. And the energy efficiency toolkit is getting smarter: emerging innovations around building systems and grid-interactive technologies are combining with proven solutions like high-efficiency windows and insulation to make the promise of decarbonization a reality in the buildings sector. But to get there, we need to do more to push energy efficiency into the market.


Codes and Standards

Building energy codes and energy efficiency standards are foundational policies for driving energy efficiency into the built environment. The Alliance advocates for stronger building energy codes to ensure buildings are made efficient from the start, as well as regular updates to minimum efficiency requirements for appliances and equipment to help homeowners and businesses reduce energy costs.

Building Energy Codes

By establishing minimum energy efficiency levels for new and renovated homes and buildings, building energy codes are ensuring the next generation of homes and buildings are built right the first time. These codes are adopted by states and local governments after the national model code, the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The IECC is updated every three years and is crafted in an extensive, stakeholder driven process. About two-thirds of Americans live in jurisdictions covered by the 2012 IECC or newer.

The Department of Energy estimates that building energy codes will save American homeowners and businesses $126 billion cumulatively from 2010 to 2040 and reduce CO2 emissions at a level equivalent to shutting off more than 200 coal power plants for a year. As buildings (and the energy-consuming products inside) become more connected to the grid, updated building energy codes and standards will help flatten demand and reduce consumption to promote the integration of distributed energy resources and improve overall energy system reliability and resilience. 

To learn more, visit the Energy Efficiency Codes Coalition.

Appliance and Equipment Standards

The Department of Energy, under direction from Congress, sets energy efficiency standards for about 60 categories of products including appliances, heating and air conditioning equipment, and lighting used in homes and commercial buildings. In the average American home, products covered by standards represent about 90% of energy consumption. Today, standards save the average American household nearly $500 in energy costs every year, according to calculations by the Appliance Standards Awareness Project. These savings have been made possible by the countless innovations introduced by product manufacturers. A typical refrigerator today, for instance, uses about 75% less energy, offers 20% more storage, and costs half as much as a model from the 1970s. The Alliance has worked for decades to ensure these standards are delivering cost-effective efficiency improvements to businesses and consumers. 

To learn more, visit the Appliance Standards Awareness Project




Help the Alliance advocate for policies to use energy more efficiently – supporting job creation, reduced emissions, and lower costs. Contact your member of Congress.


Energy efficiency is smart, nonpartisan, and practical. So are we. Our strength comes from an unparalleled group of Alliance Associates working collaboratively under the Alliance umbrella to pave the way for energy efficiency gains.


The power of efficiency is in your hands. Supporting the Alliance means supporting a vision for using energy more productively to achieve economic growth, a cleaner environment, and greater energy security, affordability, and reliability.