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Newly adopted energy efficiency standards will improve new homes

Energy-efficient construction reduces the total cost of homeownership by lowering monthly energy bills — a benefit not to be taken lightly, since energy bills are the second-largest monthly expense for homeowners, after mortgage payments.

The small, added cost of energy-efficient new construction more than pays for itself in monthly energy savings that benefit homeowners for years to come. So it helps if building codes for energy efficiency are automatically reviewed and updated every few years to keep pace with new technologies and materials. That is where the International Code Council comes in.

The International Code Council (ICC) is a nonprofit organization “dedicated to developing model codes and standards used in the design, build and compliance process to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures.”

The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) is a model energy code developed by the ICC through a comprehensive, open development process every three years that includes a wide variety of stakeholders, from builders to manufacturers to state officials to technical experts. It details the minimum requirements for the energy-efficient design and construction of new homes and their systems, as well as the criteria for determining compliance with these requirements. The IECC does not include any product-specific provisions or mandates, but instead utilizes technology-neutral approaches to increase energy efficiency.

Most states have adopted the IECC at the state and/or local levels, although some are on more current versions than others and some use their own equivalent code. Unfortunately, only seven states are on the most recent (2012) version, so more work needs to be done. A full list of the code status of each state can be viewed here.

A recent IHS Energy Daily article by Eric Lindeman highlighted the ICC’s recent adoption of the 2015 version of the IECC, including a plan “that calls for a 20 percent reduction in energy use in new homes while giving builders new flexibility to meet that goal.”

In a statement about the ICC meeting, the Alliance to Save Energy said

Sound energy policy prevailed as local and state governmental officials rejected dozens of builder-sponsored home efficiency rollback proposals in a three-day marathon meeting convened by the International Code Council (ICC) to develop the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).

Bill Fay, executive director of the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition, called it “a victory for today’s homebuyers.”

We agree. And as the industry providers of energy-saving technologies that make products such as insulation, building wrap, low-E glass and window film possible, we are proud to play a role in making homes more efficient and affordable.

For more ideas on how to be energy efficient, check out What is a Green Building?

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