The Fight to Change US Building Codes

Published by Inside Climate News: Energy consumed in buildings produced more than 30 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, making them a key part of the climate challenge. And the window to decarbonize them is narrowing: Analysts at organizations such as the International Energy Agency have said that new construction worldwide will need to start switching to all-electric around 2025, if nations are to limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) in this century.

“The place that we are working right now is to get a better code on paper,” said Kim Cheslak, Director of Codes at the New Buildings Institute, a nonprofit that works with utilities and governments on energy efficient codes. “The place we need to work after that is to make sure that cities, states and building departments have the resources to enforce full compliance.”

Now a growing group of clean energy and efficiency advocates, including Cheslak, are focusing on instituting local code amendments that improve on the model code. New Buildings Institute is also already preparing language to submit in the IECC’s next code cycle, which will set standards for 2024, just one year before experts say building electrification needs to take hold.

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