Tool 1 | Outcome-Based Compliance in the IgCC

Recommended Action:

Approve GEW-147 AMPC


Currently, energy codes offer two primary pathways to demonstrate required energy savings: modeled and prescriptive. Prescriptive pathways limit the ability of architects and engineers to use integrated systems and innovative technologies to lower a building’s energy needs. On the other hand, modeling is often prohibitively expensive, and while it can be appropriate and effective at increasing the efficiency of large projects, it rarely captures all of the energy use needs and patterns of the completed building. With all of the new devices and computer hardware in buildings, codes capture less and less of the actual energy use.

Regardless of the compliance pathway, once a Certificate of Occupancy is issued code standards become unenforceable. The day-to-day energy use of completed projects is unregulated by our energy codes.

Adoption of the outcome-based compliance proposal (GEW-147) would provide an alternative to prescriptive or modeled performance energy compliance in the 2015 IgCC. This proposal will help facilitate innovation in design and greatly simplify the task of verifying code compliance.

In addition to NBI, this proposal is supported by a coalition that includes National Institute of Building Sciences; Institute for Market Transformation; Colorado Chapter, International Code Council; BOMA International; International Association of Lighting Designers; National Insulation Association; Illuminating Engineering Society and Green Building Initiative.

Next Steps

With a historic vote in May of this year, GEW-147 cleared a big hurdle when the IgCC development committee voted 8–5 in support of the proposal.

The Final Action Hearings have concluded with the last step being electronic voting through October 29.

The final vote will be an electronic ballot for all registered governmental officials. To learn more about how the process works, visit the International Code Council website.

Explanation of GEW-147 Public Comment

This new pathway sets energy-use targets by building type and climate zone, with the goal of actually achieving expected energy results while reducing the burden on code departments to enforce beyond-minimum code requirements.

The proposed pathway:

  • Utilizes all potential opportunities to save energy while giving maximum flexibility to the design team.
  • Moves beyond component-based requirements to capture systems-level energy-saving opportunities.
  • Allows for energy efficient results recognizing the fiscal, technical and personnel limitations of today’s code departments
  • Supports quality installation, diligent design and construction, and effective operations and maintenance to achieve long-term energy performance.
  • Provides a framework to help communities, code departments, building owners and design teams realize actual energy savings.

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