Regional Building Energy Code Rundown

Since our last update for Highlights in August, the following code adoption progress has occurred:

2015 IECC adoption:

Vermont and Maryland became the first states in the nation to adopt the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC)—the latest and most energy efficient model code. Vermont’s new code was adopted in December and became fully effective in March. Vermont is also in the process of implementing its first Stretch Codes, which deliver additional energy savings beyond the base energy code: it has developed its residential Stretch Code, which will become effective this December, and are in the process of finalizing its Commercial Stretch Code. Maryland’s new code, which did not include any significant weakening amendments, was also adopted at the end of last year, and counties have until July to modify their codes accordingly.

2012 IECC adoption:

New York adopted the 2012 IECC/ASHRAE 90.1-2010 for commercial construction last fall. The code was adopted in November and became fully effective in January.

2012 IgCC adoption:

In addition, as of April 1 all nonresidential construction in the City of Baltimore must now meet the 2012 International Green Construction Code (IgCC) or one of the designated alternative compliance paths. Baltimore is among the first cities in the country to adopt this national green code, which includes provisions for site, material, and water use as well as energy.

In the next few months:

  • New Jersey published its proposed 2015 IECC adoption and amendments in January with public comments due by March (NEEP’s comments). The law, including any resulting revisions, is expected to be adopted this summer and will become fully effective after a six month grace period.
  • Massachusetts will finalize the first draft for its proposed 2015 IECC adoption in the coming months, including a revised version of its Stretch Code.
  • New York is discussing updating to the 2015 IECC this year for both residential and commercial construction.

In addition to the above progress, and following a national trend, there have also been a series of bills filed this year that seek to weaken building energy codes by promoting local determination of enforcement requirements and elongation of code adoption cycles. In our region, such efforts have surfaced in New Hampshire, Maryland, Maine, and Pennsylvania.

New Code Resources from NEEP

This year, NEEP released the first versions of its new Code Adoption and Code Compliance Toolkits, which are collections of state, regional, and national resources developed to aid building energy code development, adoption, compliance, and enforcement. The resources are presented in the form of hyperlinks that have been indexed for easy searching.

The Code Adoption Toolkit includes links to materials such as: code analyses and comparisons; state amendments and model language; and code case studies and talking points for topics such as stretch codes and the non-energy benefits of codes.

  • Spotlight- 2015 IECC / ASHRAE 90.1-2013 Presentation: To support our states that have adopted or are considering adoption of the newest building energy codes, NEEP has assembled presentation slides covering the major changes of this code from previous versions. Please contact NEEP directly for these slides.

Likewise, the Code Compliance Toolkit includes links to materials such as: code training materials, FAQs, inspection tools, and field guides; code compliance assessments; and code case studies and talking points for topics like attribution of savings to utility code compliance programs and streamlined permitting.

  • Spotlight- Delaware field guides: After assisting last year with the adoption process for Delaware's 2012 IECC-based code, which became effective in November, NEEP oversaw the creation of a pair of customized state residential construction field guides. The guides, which are organized by inspection stage (for code officials) and by trade (for builders), feature checklists and pictures for easy use on site as well as detailed information for training. The books include guidance for meeting the code and recommended practices for achieving additional energy savings. Along with being available in print, sections of the guides are freely available online.

These toolkits are updated regularly. Be sure to visit NEEP’s Building Energy Codes page for the latest version, and contact Kevin Rose or Darren Port with any inquiries.


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