Updated building codes keep Illinois on pace with latest energy efficiency innovations

On January 1, 2013, Illinois became the second state in the nation (after Maryland) to implement the 2012 version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for residential and commercial buildings — part of a nationwide effort to make our homes and businesses more energy efficient.

The 2012 code can make homes 15 percent more efficient than the 2009 version, and 30 percent more efficient than those under the 2006 code, by requiring buildings to keep pace with new energy efficiency technologies and materials — high performance insulation, windows and doors, for example — many of which are enabled by the products of chemistry.

A recent report by the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) projected a global 41 percent reduction in energy use and a 70 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 — IF key energy efficiency improvements were made to the residential and commercial buildings sector.

With buildings accounting for nearly one-third of all energy consumed in the United States, increased adoption of these technologies is more important than ever in reducing our country’s energy costs. Of course, energy-efficient construction also protects the environment and strengthens our economy by generating demand for building materials made in America.

Homeowners have a lot to gain here as well, since energy bills are the second-largest expense after the mortgage payment. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the average homeowner can save $511 annually in a home that is 30 percent more efficient. That means many homeowners will recoup the additional cost for improved energy efficiency in three years or less.

ACC applauds Illinois for its leadership on energy-efficient building codes that will boost energy savings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. More homeowners and businesses around the country are ready to reap the benefits of increased energy savings — and they will, as more and more states step up their building codes to keep pace with U.S. innovation.

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