International Code Council Committee Sets Stage For Landmark Boost In Energy Efficiency of US Homes | Alliance to Save Energy

International Code Council Committee Sets Stage For Landmark Boost In Energy Efficiency of US Homes

Release Date: Thursday, October 29, 2009

2012 Model Energy Code Close to Meeting Congressional 30% Efficiency Improvement Targets


BALTIMORE, MD, October 30, 2009 – America’s model energy efficiency code for new home construction (International Energy Conservation Code, or IECC) would be close to meeting the 30 percent target included in legislation that has cleared both the full House of Representatives and the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee if action taken at the International Code Council (ICC) Codes Forum hearings in Baltimore is upheld by the ICC Final Action Hearings in 2010. The IECC is the model code recognized in federal law, green building standards and nearly all states.

“America owes a huge debt of gratitude to the IECC Development Committee for elevating energy efficiency to the importance our national energy policy warrants,” said William Fay, executive director of the broad-based Energy Efficient Codes Coalition (EECC). “By voting for a substantial boost in new home energy efficiency, the committee has confronted one of the last frontiers of wasted energy, a sector using over 20% of our nation’s energy and accounting for nearly 20% of U.S. manmade greenhouse gases.”

The committee heard extensive testimony on three comprehensive package proposals, including one from the U.S. Department of Energy and EECC’s “30Plus.” Both of these similar packages focused on readily achievable improvements which would be simple to enforce and generate significant energy cost savings and greater comfort to homeowners. Independent estimates put the DOE proposal’s savings at 25-30% and the savings of “30Plus” at 30-35% beyond the 2006 IECC. Legislation moving through Congress would set a 30% code savings target upon enactment and 50% savings by the middle of the next decade.

The Goal of 30%

“Because the DOE package preceded “30Plus” on the agenda, EECC threw its considerable support behind it,” Fay added. “After recommending its adoption, the ICC committee then adopted nine individual proposals from EECC that brought the package close to the 30% goal.” Support for adopting DOE first, then also adopting the stronger “30Plus” came from:

  • U.S. Conference of Mayors Chair Greg Nickels
  • New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson
  • Builders: Washington, D.C., homebuilder Ethan Landis; New York City green affordable multi-housing developer Carlton Brown, and the Santa Fe area homebuilders
  • Low Income and Affordable Housing Advocates including the National Housing Institute
  • The National Association of State Energy Officials
  • National energy leaders like the Alliance to Save Energy, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, New Buildings Institute and United Nations
  • Additional EECC members, including utilities, environmental and energy consumer groups, businesses, labor, regional energy efficiency alliances and others.

Less Stringent Efficiency Requirements of the Energy Chapter of the IRC Could Be Replaced by IECC

On Monday, Colorado code official Shaunna Mozingo and Virginia code official Guy Tomberlin led a successful effort to replace the weaker Energy chapter of the International Residential Code (IRC), often promoted for state adoption by efficiency opponents, with the stronger IECC, which is universally recognized as the nation’s model energy code. “With federal funding to states under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) requiring both the adoption of a residential energy code that meets or exceeds the most recent IECC and 90% state code compliance by 2017, states need the consistency of a single model energy code,” Mozingo said.

Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan praised the IECC Development Committee for its focus on improving new home energy efficiency by 30%. Callahan noted, “The benefits of a 30% boost in energy efficiency for both residential and commercial buildings through 2030 are mind-boggling:

  • Cumulative energy savings of at least 3 quadrillion Btu saved nationwide,
  • 150 million metric tons of avoided CO2,
  • Annual homeowner savings of $25 billion from reducing wasted energy.”

The IECC Development Committee’s recommendations will be submitted to the ICC’s Final Action Hearings next year where they will be voted on by its membership, comprised of government officials that administer, adopt or enforce U.S. building codes.

About EECC
The Energy Efficient Codes Coalition is a unique, broad-based alliance of longstanding energy efficiency advocates – from government, regional energy efficiency networks, environmental groups, utilities, insurance, energy consumers and businesses – formed to work for adoption of the most energy efficient residential model energy code that’s achievable using current “state of the shelf” technology. EECC’s comprehensive set of proposals, called “The 30% Solution 2012,” is focused on: 1) Simplicity, to facilitate energy code administration and enforcement, 2) Lifetime and Ease of Replacement . . . Recognizing improvements that last for generations; and 3) A Complete Solution that integrates all elements of energy efficiency.