2021 IECC (Base Codes)
The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) is the most widely adopted energy code by local jurisdictions in the United States. It provides many benefits, among which is the model code development process that offers an international forum for energy professionals to discuss performance and prescriptive code requirements. This model code also encourages international consistency in the application of provisions. NBI is using its deep experience in stretch code development, advanced energy code implementation in states, as well as past success in the IECC development process to work for increased efficiency of commercial buildings in the 2021 IECC. We are also working to advance residential energy efficiency through participation in the IECC Residential code development process by promoting innovative revisions that will increase efficiency and building quality.
Boosting the efficiency of building energy codes is essential to sound energy policy and to meeting Paris Accord and other carbon reduction targets. Buildings use over 40% of the energy used in the United States, including 70% of the electricity. Building energy use accounts for over 40% of greenhouse gas emissions globally. Improvements to the new and existing building stock are critical to reducing energy use and meeting climate goals.
The IECC is updated every three years through a stakeholder approval process. While progress was made in efficiency gains in this code between 2006 and 2012, more recently efficiency improvements have stagnated due to political pressure from specific interest groups, leaving many jurisdictions unable to move forward with efficiency gains. The 2021 IECC is the best near-term opportunity to curb carbon impacts from new buildings across the United States.
NBI is in the process of developing code proposals along with partners such as the Energy-Efficient Codes Council and ACEEE in order to offer improvements of 10-15% stringency in the commercial and residential standards to be adopted in fall of 2019. As proposals are developed, the will be posted here and shared. In addition, we will be providing education and support for local jurisdictions that want to know more about the new proposals for the 2012 IECC.
Zero Energy Appendix for the 2021 IECC
The Zero Energy Appendix for the 2021 IECC provides cities and states an appendix to the residential section of the 2021 IECC that would result in a residential building that has zero energy consumption over the course of a year. Jurisdictions would have the prerogative to adopt the appendix in support of policy goals related to energy efficiency and renewable energy. The provisions contained in this appendix are not mandatory unless specified as such in the jurisdiction’s adopting ordinance.
Integrating a zero energy building pathway into the 2021 IECC as a jurisdictional option will make the model energy code a more robust policy tool. Use of appendices in the IECC have proven successful with the solar provisions in the 2018 IECC appendices. Including a zero energy building appendix in the model energy code can smooth the transition to zero energy for builders. Rather than jurisdictions going alone—leading to a patchwork of zero energy residential code approaches—a single IECC appendix would provide consistent national language across the residential industry for manufacturers, builders and trades. Builders can standardize their construction practices across jurisdictions and states to meet these requirements. This makes education, incentive programs, and implementation significantly more straightforward and cost-effective.