On July 21, 2021, at the beginning of the two-day virtual National Energy Code Conference, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm announced a series of new building energy codes. She also stated that the Department of Energy (DOE) would be creating partnerships to support adoption of the new codes at the local level.
According to DOE, the latest energy code determinations are projected to save up to 4.7% on-site energy, 4.3% source energy, 4.2% carbon emissions, and 4.3%in energy costs. These projections are based on adoption of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2019, Energy Standard for Buildings, Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings compared to the 2016 version of ASHRAE 90.1. In an energy savings analysis accompanying the determinations, the DOE outlined the specific proposed changes, which include more high-efficiency lighting, increased wall and ceiling insulation, and improved efficacy for mechanical ventilation fans.
Other topics discussed during the first day of the conference included:
- Emerging state and local goals: from zero energy to electrification to decarbonization
- All for nothing: energy codes, above-code programs, and zero energy
- Workforce development: opportunities for building codes and compliance programs
Day two of the conference focused on:
- The role of building codes in shaping equity and environmental justice
- Building performance standards—the pathway to zero-carbon buildings: setting goals and metrics, compliance, and implementation
IIBEC will continue to monitor DOE programs and outreach efforts to advance the new energy codes and take action to advance the interests of consultants. IIBEC’s Codes and Standards Committee meets bimonthly to discuss potential changes or implications of U.S. energy codes. In addition, IIBEC’s senior director of technical services, Emily Lorenz, represents IIBEC members as a member of the code committee developing the commercial provisions of the 2024 edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (see IIBEC news article here). Lorenz is also a consulting member of the ASHRAE 90.1 envelope subcommittee.