Construction Codes in the Northeast: Myths and Realities of Energy Code Adoption and the Economic Effects

Building energy codes act as the minimum level of efficiency, or the “floor”, at which a new building can be constructed. A progressive building energy code policy ensures this minimum level of efficiency rises over time through the adoption of the newest versions of the code.

Opponents of building energy codes sometimes make the claim that the up-front costs of compliance with the energy code can drive construction projects to areas with lower code requirements. This report examined construction data from the region and found no correlation between code implementation and significant changes in construction activity within NEEP states.

The granular data presented in this paper is also intended to assist with targeted code trainings to increase compliance rates within certain jurisdictions or for certain building types. Significant opportunities for savings are then identified with projections for carbon and energy cost savings if states in the region were to switch to the latest energy codes.    

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