Construction Codes in the Northeast: Myths and Realities of Energy Code Adoption and the Economic Effects - 2018 Update

Energy codes are a critical piece of the puzzle for state and community energy and carbon emissions reduction plans. All states and several cities in the NEEP region have aggressive emissions reduction goals, and increased efficiency in building codes will helps them achieve these goals. Yet, when states begin the process of updating their energy code, they are often faced with some opposition from stakeholders.

The arguments against updating the energy code include:

  1. It will be too costly for builders to build to the new code;
  2. Building prices will go up because of additional costs to builders, pricing out moderate to low-income homebuyers and drive away businesses from owning/leasing newer buildings;
  3. Builders will take their business to areas with a less efficient energy codes.

NEEP has discovered that this simply is not the case for updated energy codes. In fact, energy code updates provide an opportunity for energy and cost savings. These savings are significant and can point out the importance of energy codes as a tool for reducing energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy costs for building owners and occupants.

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