In partnership with the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE), BCAP will develop solar-related educational materials and provide targeted training to design professionals, including architects and engineers, in 22 key metropolitan areas across the nation. The nearly $800,000 award spans two years and is designed to give these professionals the tools they need to incorporate solar into their blueprints and designs.
On April 20th, the Senate passed a bipartisan S. 2012, which sponsors hope will become the first broad energy bill in almost a decade. In addition to electric grid modernization, the Energy Policy Modernization Act supports energy efficiency in buildings.
The Building Codes Assistant Project (BCAP) is seeking a motivated Program Assistant to support BCAP’s mission to reduce building energy use by promoting the adoption, implementation and advancement of energy efficient building codes and standards at the state and local levels and internationally. For over 20 years, BCAP has worked in the U.S. advocating for strong energy codes. We work with state energy offices, state and local agencies, building departments, and those in the construction industry. We also work to inform federal policy makers, national organizations, and consumers on the opportunities and benefits associated with the energy code as the baseline-setting policy for the construction market.
With the 2018 version of the IECC being developed this year, it seems appropriate to look at the success of the ERI and what the future may hold. The voluntary ERI path for the 2015 IECC gives builders the option of complying with the code by meeting a target Energy Rating Index score. This is a numerical score where 100 equates to the efficiency levels prescribed in the 2006 IECC and 0 is equivalent to a net-zero-energy (NZE) home.
Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, and Vermont all adopted new energy codes in 2015.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that eight states would be part of a three-year Residential Energy Code Field Study. Once completed, the study will provide an unprecedented opportunity to develop new strategies for education, training, and outreach for improving the energy efficiency of single-family homes, as well as a measurement of the impact those activities have on residential energy use.
This article covers some important changes to additional efficiency package options, rooms with fuel burning appliances, walk-in coolers and freezers, refrigerated display cases, and equipment buildings.
Consumer demand for energy efficiency is a topic energy code advocates need to understand. We want to know the answers to questions like “do consumers believe in conserving energy through increasing energy efficiency in their homes?” and “how much are consumers willing to pay for home improvements for efficiency?” so that we can make a stronger case for our support for energy efficient building codes. Recently, BCAP looked at four major consumer surveys and summarized their findings in a fact sheet. Although the surveys were conducted by various organizations, the findings led to a strikingly similar conclusion: Consumers want and expect energy efficiency when buying a new home.
While location, design, and price are a home buyer’s main considerations, surveys show that buyers rank energy efficiency as one of the most desirable features, and importantly, when there is sufficient energy savings – one they’re willing to pay more for. One way to know that a home is built energy efficiently is to know which energy code it was built to.
A majority of states have developed comprehensive energy plans that provide recommendations for increasing efficiencies across numerous sectors. As buildings account for around 40% of national energy consumption, one aspect of these state plans should be building energy codes. This article will provide a brief overview of how several recently published state plans are addressing building concerns.
Earlier this month, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) published their state scorecard rankings. Out of a possible seven points in the building energy codes category, here are the results for how each state fared.
A significant proposal before Congress would require proposed energy code changes to be evaluated for their cost-effectiveness prior to inclusion in a code. The proposal before Congress designates simple payback as the principal basis for evaluating the cost-effectiveness of proposed energy code changes, but two other methods for determining cost-effectiveness are Life Cycle Cost (LCC) and Mortgage Cash-Flow (MCF).
Energy code circuit riders are in-field experts that meet with specific individuals to address code compliance and enforcement needs. Circuit riders travel to individual jurisdictions to provide tailored technical assistance and resources to support energy code compliance. The Florida program aimed to develop a snapshot of code enforcement in the field, and identify needs for future targeted technical assistance to strengthen enforcement of Florida’s commercial code. This report from SEEA is the first in a series documenting the experience and findings from the Circuit Rider’s work in Florida.
In a deal nearly two years in the making, the International Code Council (ICC) and ASHRAE have signed the final agreement that outlines each organization’s role in the development and maintenance of the new version of the International Green Construction Code (IgCC).
Each year, K-12 schools spend around $8 billion on energy nationwide. They use 10% of the energy used by all commercial buildings and are the third biggest energy user of all commercial building types (U.S. EPA, 2011). What if these schools were built to be more energy-efficient and sustainable? What if building and operating high-performance school buildings were a natural part of the school design and construction practice?
Last month, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) had its national annual convention in Atlanta, Georgia. At the convention, BCAP’s President, Maureen Guttman, along with three other architects, gave a presentation on building commissioning to make one thing clear: building commissioning is here to stay and architects have big business opportunities to help shape the future direction of commissioning. In the session, presenters provided an overview of what commissioning is and shared a few reasons why they think that architects should be leading the process. First, the commissioning industry is growing large and fast. Second, commissioning is already an accepted service provided by architects.
The Department of Energy has announced findings on energy savings from adopting and complying with the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). Compared with residential buildings meeting the 2012 IECC, the 2015 edition achieves national source energy savings of approximately 0.87 percent, site energy savings of approximately 0.98 percent, and energy cost savings of 0.73 percent of residential building energy consumption.
Air pollution is a top concern for Utah citizens. So is financial stability. Improving our air quality while saving money for Utahns is a win-win opportunity. This summer, decision-makers will be voting whether or not to adopt up-to-date building energy codes that will help new homes and buildings constructed in Utah cut energy waste, lower air pollution and reduce Utahns’ energy bills.
Today, the Alliance to Save Energy and the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition announced the release of a landmark calculator that state air quality offices can utilize to estimate the carbon emission savings from state adoption and enforcement of the most recent building energy codes. The most recent 2012 and 2015 versions of the International Energy Conservation Codes (IECC) have boosted the efficiency of new home and commercial building construction by 38% and 28%, respectively, over 2006 requirements.
The Florida Home Builders Association and the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance have teamed up to prepare building code trainers to deliver effective energy code training for the Florida construction industry. The organizations developed a curriculum in early 2015 and held the first train-the-trainer series in late February.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) determined last week that the adoption of the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for single family homes and ASHRAE 90.1-2007 for multifamily buildings will have zero negative impact on the affordability and availability of certain HUD- and USDA-assisted housing.
In September 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced eight states that would participate in a three year Residential Energy Code Field Study. The states include: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas. Through the project, DOE plans to establish a sufficient data set to represent statewide construction trends and detect significant changes in energy use from training, education and outreach activities. Through the project, DOE plans to establish a sufficient data set to represent statewide construction trends and detect significant changes in energy use from training, education and outreach activities.
There was a lot of buzz around the residential provisions in the 2015 IECC last year but not enough around the commercial provisions. Major changes in commercial buildings for the 2015 IECC include increased commissioning and upgrades for HVAC, water heating, and lighting.
This post will dive into mechanical and water heating systems—supply and return duct systems, cooling systems, and hot water piping insulation. Failure to comply with the mechanical system provisions in the IECC can lead to several unintended consequences that negatively affect more than just energy consumption—including indoor air quality, premature equipment failure, and a less-controllable and less-comfortable environment for homeowners and tenants.
After a three-year hiatus, the Department of Energy’s National Energy Codes Conference returned in March 2015 for two and half days of inspiring education and a reminder of the importance of energy code support in our country. The conference was a great success thanks to the enthusiasm of 250 attendees, session speakers, moderators, and plenary speakers.
More regional energy efficiency organizations are examining commercial construction data to gain insights into the commercial construction trends and the economic impact of building energy code adoption and implementation on the construction trends. Raw construction data on permits can help stakeholders understand what kind of impact newer state-level energy code adoption and implementation have on the market and communities at local and state-level.
Energy efficiency rang in the New Year with seven states implementing new and improved building energy codes. The 2015 IECC, the latest version of the energy code, is now enforced in Maryland and Vermont; the 2012 IECC is implemented in Idaho, Minnesota, and New York; and the 2009 IECC is used in Arkansas and Louisiana. Here are some key facts about the new state code updates.
As often the first point of contact with prospective owners of new homes and buildings, architects are a key influence in determining the level of energy efficiency that is included in new construction and major renovation projects. But architects have been largely absent from an important issue that’s left Pennsylvania unable to adopt an updated building code.
This op-ed highlights the results of the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance’s (SEEA) recent codes research, confirming that the adoption of stronger energy codes across the Southeast has no adverse effect on commercial construction activity. In Georgia, when the state adopted the 2009 IECC with Georgia State Supplements and Amendments in 2011, it saw the largest ever number of activated construction permits.
Looking at what makes the 2015 IECC different from the 2012 version, the biggest change that will affect builders is the addition of an Energy Rating Index (ERI) compliance path. This article will outline some other important changes. Five of the major changes in the 2015 IECC that will affect new home construction include specifying required inspections; revised requirements for vertical access doors; a new requirement for combustion closets; revisions to the building envelope air leakage testing requirements; and revised requirements for duct insulation.
The City Energy Project Assessment Methodology is designed to assist cities in identifying residential and commercial energy code compliance issues and help identify the areas they should focus on in order to improve their compliance rates. The methodology helps cities identify common areas of non-compliance as well as the causes of non-compliance. So far, 10 cities are using this methodology to cut energy waste, boost local economies, and reduce harmful pollution.
More people in Oklahoma and Texas will soon enjoy the benefits of a stronger local energy code community through the work of twelve newly-certified Energy Code Ambassadors. These volunteers will work under the auspices of the South-central Partnership for Energy Efficiency as a Resource (SPEER), the newest regional energy efficiency organization. SPEER’s Ambassadors are well suited to impact building practices in the one region where the most new building is occurring, creating more efficient, durable and affordable buildings.
How can architects build a new world of sustainable communities? By taking more responsibility for model energy code adoption and implementation. At the Hanley Wood Vision 2020 Sustainability Summit, held in conjunction with the 2014 Greenbuild in New Orleans, BCAP President Maureen Guttman encourages architects to let go of their old notions of responsibility and consider taking this new business opportunity to become the leaders of the collaborative process for ensuring quality design and performance.
At BCAP’s Annual Energy Codes Stakeholders Meeting, several key threads emerged from the wealth of energy code knowledge and discourse that unfolded during the day. As we as a community push forward to develop new strategies for better buildings in the coming years, we should also work to deploy the information and policies already at our disposal.
If every state began 2015 with the 2012 IECC for residential and commercial construction and moved from 60% compliance to 100% compliance by 2030, how much would the cumulative source energy savings, energy cost savings, and carbon emission reductions be in 2030?
Energy efficiency advocates, governments, utilities, and others that fund energy code compliance initiatives often question whether enforcement or training and outreach are more effective at driving higher compliance rates. The answer isn’t obvious.
Consistently, one of the biggest “ah-hah” moments in energy code training courses is the huge impact windows have on overall wall assembly performance. Even with just a 15% window-to-floor-area ratio, windows represent a giant thermal hole that disproportionately upsets all the good work done on the insulated wall assemblies. Who knew?
Paul Torcellini, principal engineer with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, discusses how we can achieve zero-energy buildings by integrating the cost of energy efficiency into design decisions.
Are architects unaware of their legal obligations under licensure, or are they simply negligent? Sooner or later, someone other than a sympathetic colleague is going to ask this question. Rapid change is upon us. Increasingly, consumers of design and construction services are demanding reliable metrics for building performance. Over the next 10 to 15 years, global pressures will ratchet up the “standard of care” for building designers.
In September, BCAP President Maureen Guttman was elected chairman of the Governing Committee of ICC’s Sustainability Membership Council at the International Code Council 2014 Annual Conference in Fort Lauderdale. Program Director Maria Ellingson has been elected to serve as a member of the RESNET Standards Development Committee 900 on Quality Assurance.
Earlier this month, thousands of energy professionals from around the globe gathered for the 2014 World Energy Engineering Congress (WEEC), the 37th event of its kind. It was presented by the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) and featured over 250 speakers. The WEEC conference is the largest gathering of its kind, representing the culmination of remarkable efforts towards a greener, cleaner future. Ideas and products showcased that Wednesday and Thursday worked at both ends of the energy life cycle: finding smarter ways of acquiring energy and then getting the most productivity with the least amount of waste.
A recent survey conducted by the National Institute of Building Sciences on behalf of the International Code Council (ICC) reveals information that if not addressed in the coming years, may have an impact on the public safety of thousands of communities in the United States. Just as baby boomers are having an impact across other industries, code officials are aging and making plans for retirement in significant numbers. Nearly 85 percent of respondents are over the age of 45. More importantly, over 80 percent of respondents expect to retire within the next 15 years, and more than 30 percent plan to do so within five years.
Read and download factsheets providing helpful information for consumers, policymakers, and advocates.