Improving Energy Codes – An Upcoming Opportunity

In a few days, the International Code Council’s (ICC) final action hearings of the 2009 code development process will take place in Minneapolis. The hearings are the final step in a 3 year long code development cycle aimed at re-evaluating and improving the ICC’s myriad of building codes.

I bring this up because it’s the final determination for what has been deemed as the “30 percent solution” by the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition (EECC) to be adopted into the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), the nationally recognized model energy efficiency code.  The proposals included in this “30 percent solution” look to improve the energy efficiency of the entire code by 30 percent by using current, everyday products and practices that are affordable (paying dividends through positive cash flow for the homeowner).

This lengthy process began in 2007 with the submission of over 150 proposed amendments, which have been revised to incorporate comments and recommendations throughout the development process. The result is a set of 21 individual proposals – fourteen of which were approved by the Development Committee in Palm Springs, with modifications as appropriate, and seven other proposals which were initially not approved but have now been modified by the EECC in its public comments. One of these, EC-14 is a compilation of all the individual parts and would essentially revise the entire code, and another (EC-154) is a voluntary appendix, designed to provide jurisdictions interested in increasing their energy efficiency  beyond the basic IECC measures with a means to do so.

The product of this “Final Action Hearing” will become the 2009 IECC, which can then be ratified as a new building requirement by municipalities across the country.

FAS is very interested in the outcome of these hearings. Improving building codes is one of the many ways to spur future focus and development on building energy efficiency, and if these measures are passed, they will represent a significant jump in one fell swoop.  FAS will be keeping an eye of these hearings, and will update the blog with developments.

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