By Ronnie Kweller
RISMEDIA, August 3, 2011—The Alliance to Save Energy recently hailed a newly released model building energy code upgrade that will improve energy use in commercial and residential buildings in the United States by as much as 30%.
The landmark 30% improvement for new and renovated residential buildings is included in the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), which also would increase the energy efficiency of commercial buildings by about 25% when compared to the 2006 version of the code.
Significance in Energy Codes
The historic increase in the code was advocated by the Energy Efficiency Codes Coalition (EECC), a group led by the Alliance and comprised of a diverse group of policy makers, businesses and public interest groups. The improvements in the model code will have far-reaching impact as nearly all states operate under a version of the IECC, which is the only model residential energy code referenced in federal statutes.
“The significant advances in energy codes for new U.S. construction have multiple benefits even beyond the noteworthy savings of energy, money and pollutant emissions that they will achieve,” says Alliance President Kateri Callahan.
“The 2012 code will reduce peak energy demand, thereby reducing strain on the electric grid and increasing its reliability; reduce the size and cost of heating and cooling equipment in residential and commercial buildings; improve indoor comfort; help stabilize local energy prices; and increase national energy security,” she adds.
“We commend the International Code Council for its historic accomplishment and the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition for its persistence in advocating for a substantial code improvement,” Callahan continues. “We urge each of the 50 states to fulfill the promise of the 2012 code by adopting it promptly and enforcing it strictly in the months and years ahead.”
Savings Brought By Adoption of Code
The Alliance has estimated that if all states were to adopt the strengthened code next year and achieved full compliance by 2013—an admittedly ambitious scenario—the annual savings by 2030 would come to:
• At least $40 billion in energy costs to consumers and businesses;
• More than 3.5 quadrillion Btu of energy annually—about 9 percent of current building energy use; and
• About 200 million metric tons of CO2 emissions.
• The EECC says all states have committed to 90% compliance with the 2012 IECC by 2017.
Results of Improvements
For homes, improvements will:
• Ensure that new homes are better sealed to reduce heating and cooling losses;
• Improve the efficiency of windows and skylights;
• Increase insulation in ceilings, walls and foundations;
• Reduce wasted energy from leaky heating and cooling ducts;
• Improve hot-water distribution systems to reduce wasted energy and water in piping; and
• Boost indoor and outdoor lighting efficiency.
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