Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica

Buildings

Building Codes: Simple Energy Savings

 
In energy policy, lawmakers often prefer carrots to sticks because it minimizes the opposition. But mandatory rules, like building energy codes, can save energy and pay back several times over during the useful life of buildings.

The state of Illinois is poised to become a regional leader by adopting the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), an example of small-seeming rules with big impact. For example, 40% of primary energy consumption in the U.S. is in buildings, along with about 40% of greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, adopting the 2012 IECC (as Illinois is doing), with energy efficiency standards 28% stronger than the 2006 code, can make a big dent in carbon emissions.

The financial savings can add up, as well. The federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimated in 2005 that homeowners in the Midwest spent an average of $1,800 per year on household energy use. Assuming states had already adopted the 2006 IECC for the previous expenditure figure, the implementation of the 2012 code could save families $500 per year.

Builders often fight codes, and the ones in Illinois are no different, claiming the cost of the improvements will add $5,000 to the cost of a new home. But in fact, the increased cost of a home built to the 2012 code in Illinois will increase the home’s cost by $1500 (~$6 a month) but save $33 per month in energy costs.

In other words, improved energy efficiency in building codes saves homeowners from day 1.

The U.S. Department of Energy supplies maps depicting the current status of state building codes — its residential map is shown below (hold ‘ctrl’ or ‘command’ and click the ‘+’ button to make larger).

 

Already, 30 states have adopted the 2009 IECC or better, and interestingly, the pattern does not follow traditional red-blue state political divisions.

Of course, a code is only as good as compliance — enforced by municipal government — and the Alliance to Save Energy suggests that it can be spotty. Anyone know of good studies of code compliance?

This post originally appeared on Energy Self-Reliant States, a resource of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (check out our new website!).


Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.

 
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

John directs the Democratic Energy program at ILSR and he focuses on energy policy developments that best expand the benefits of local ownership and dispersed generation of renewable energy. His seminal paper, Democratizing the Electricity System, describes how to blast the roadblocks to distributed renewable energy generation, and how such small-scale renewable energy projects are the key to the biggest strides in renewable energy development.   Farrell also authored the landmark report Energy Self-Reliant States, which serves as the definitive energy atlas for the United States, detailing the state-by-state renewable electricity generation potential. Farrell regularly provides discussion and analysis of distributed renewable energy policy on his blog, Energy Self-Reliant States (energyselfreliantstates.org), and articles are regularly syndicated on Grist and Renewable Energy World.   John Farrell can also be found on Twitter @johnffarrell, or at jfarrell@ilsr.org.

Comments

#1 most loved electric vehicle, solar energy, and battery news & analysis site in the world.

 

Support our work today!

Advertisement

Power CleanTechnica: $3/Month

Tesla News Solar News EV News Data Reports

Advertisement

EV Sales Charts, Graphs, & Stats

Advertisement

Our Electric Car Driver Report

30 Electric Car Benefits

Tesla Model 3 Video

Renewable Energy 101 In Depth

solar power facts

Tesla News

EV Reviews

Home Efficiency

You May Also Like

Biomass

In 2019, consumption of renewable energy in the United States grew for the fourth year in a row, reaching a record 11.5 quadrillion British...

Buildings

Cement is the gray glue that binds our cities and industries together. It makes tall buildings possible and foundations strong. It helps us bridge...

Cars

Can the addition of more electric vehicles to the grid actually lower utility bills for all consumers? A recent study demonstrated just that, showing that...

Clean Power

Earlier this spring, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance released its 2018 Community Power State Scorecard, revealing the the best and worst states for local...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.