NEW: Maine had a busy summer in 2019, passing several new bills focused on energy codes, climate change, and renewable energies. This included adopting a resolution that would always keep Maine on one of the two most recent state residential and commercial energy codes defined by the IECC. Bill LD1543 additionally resolves to draft a stretch code that municipalities can adopt to exceed these statewide standards. New state and stretch codes will be drafted by and take effect on July 1, 2020.
Pennsylvania adopted the 2015 IECC for residential and commercial buildings in October of 2018 with minimal PA-specific amendments. These amendments are actually elements taken from the 2018 IECC, which streamlines many commissioning processes, simplifies certain language, and will help with future code adoption. You can find those amendments here. Pennsylvania also has a new list of resources and toolkits along with its own website for training professionals to work and comply with its new codes. The adoption outlook for future codes is unclear but will likely look at 2018 IECC adoption around 2022, if not sooner.
In May 2017, Massachusetts further amended their 2015 IECC / ASHRAE 2013 energy codes while finalizing their adoption of the other 2015 I-codes. Two substantial amendments were made to the state's base code to add: (1) Solar ready roof requirements for residential and commercial new construction and additions of 3 stories or less; and (2) COMcheck submittal requirements with permit applications for new commercial construction (completed COMcheck Envelope, Lighting, and Mechanical Compliance Certificates as well as Plan Review Inspection Checklist). Electric vehicle ready provisions for residential and commercial new construction were considered but ultimately not included in this update.
NEW: Senate Bill 1935 would establish a net zero energy building definition to be completed within 1 year of bill passing and a net zero energy stretch code to be in full effect by 2030. This bill would require a tiered implementation plan to be published within 3 years and holds clauses for prioritizing environmental justice and regional renewable energy generation. It is currently being heard in the legislature. Massachusetts is also reviewing the 2018 IECC energy code and may adopt it in the next legislative cycle in conjunction with advancing its stretch code.
As of October 2016, New York operates under the 2015 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1 2013 energy codes and is looking to update to the 2018 IECC and 90.1 2016 ASHRAE codes by first quarter 2020. New York City's Energy code is more efficient than the state code and is updated on a bi-annual basis to ensure it is a leading force in energy codes in the region. Thanks to New York's regular review process, their codes are updated often as it continues its commitment to advancing energy efficiency, especially with regard to their state stretch code.
STRETCH CODE: NYSERDA has released its NYStretch Energy Code 2020, which is 25% more efficient than the 2018 IECC. This aims to provide a straightforward, flexible approach to achieving this efficiency boost in energy savings beyond code for residential, commercial, and multi-family buildings. NYSERDA works to update this regularly as NYC is committed to being a leader in building technologies and efficiency to improve energy use and affordable housing options.
NEW: Currently introduced and on the floor is Assembly Bill 5708, which would require New York to consider and modify all new IECC codes within 18 months of their publication so that they can be applied seamlessly to New York residential buildings while meeting or exceeding current energy code requirements for energy efficiency. It would also require all new residential homes to undergo a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rating as defined by the RESNET definition by a certified rater and necessitate various (20-30%) reductions in modeled energy consumption compared to a reference building of comparable parameters.
House Bill 970, which would require builders of new home developments of 11 or more units to provide buyers with general information on energy efficiency options, will be heard in the Maryland Senate on March 29, 2017 at 1PM. This bill passed the House on March 16, 2017.
New Hampshire updated its state building code with bill HB 562 to the 2015 IECC, but included weakening amendments (including thermal envelope depiction, wall insulation, air leakage testing, duct leakage testing, and mechanical ventilation), making this a minimal advancement if one at all. Nonetheless, it was adopted on July 17, 2019 and will go into effect September 17, 2019. The New Hampshire Building Code Collaborative has started to reconvene and will be working to regularly adopt new codes and improve compliance with existing codes to help make New Hampshire a leader in energy codes in the Northeast.
In February 2017, Vermont Realtors approved the introduction of S. 118, which, starting January 2018, would require that home buyers receive general information about opportunities to reduce energy use.
H. 1738, introduced in January 2017, would require that a rating, such as U.S. DOE's Home Energy Score, be assigned to each home receiving an energy audit through the Mass Save program. This rating would be adjusted upon completion of any major efficiency improvement measures, and homeowners would have the option to include this score in the home's listing information at time of proposed sale.
A pair of field guides customized for Delaware's residential building energy code are now available. 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 on the 2012 IECC-based code. 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.
NEW: Delaware is in the process of reviewing its state energy code with the hope of adopting the 2018 IECC and the AHRAE 90.1 2016 codes statewide by fall 2019 (Delaware currently operates under the 2012 IECC, so these code updates would be a big improvement). A public hearing on the codes will take place early this fall, with the hopes of adopting a new code before the year’s end.
Connecticut has announced its intent to adopt its 2020 State Building and Fire Safety Codes and plans to base them on the 2018 IECC codes. This review began in April 2019 and aims to be completed by the end of August, with codes going into effect in October 2019. Several code changes were proposed, but we have yet to see what is incorporated into the final bill to be considered by the legislature. Connecticut currently operates under the 2015 IECC.