Building Energy Codes for a Carbon Constrained Era: A Toolkit of Strategies and Examples

Buildings consume about two-thirds of the United States’ power supply and produce about 40 percent of carbon emissions. Buildings that are being constructed now will have a considerable impact on our region’s energy use 50 to 100 years from now. Thus, the built environment, including residential, commercial, and public structures, presents an opportunity to drastically reduce carbon emissions. Carbon reduction goals cannot be met, however, without significant gains in energy efficiency through more efficient building energy codes.
To reduce the impacts of climate change, states and communities in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region are adopting goals to aggressively cut carbon emissions and energy use between the years 2020 to 2050. Building energy codes – as well as related training and support – are critical tools to achieving carbon and energy reductions as they drive higher performance building practices throughout the construction industry, influencing and ultimately defining standard practice.
This report provides a set of strategies that will better position states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region (the region) to achieve two critical objectives:
  • Advance building energy code development and adoption to enact zero energy buildings codes within the next 15 to 25 years;
  • Improve the administration of building energy codes to ensure that desired performance levels are realized.


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