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Natural Resources Defense Council Posts Blog on Home Energy Rating Compliance Option Proposal for the 2015 International Conservation Code

Aug 22, 2013

Together, the Leading Builders of America, Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) have proposed a change to the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) that would result in significant energy savings, while providing more flexibility to builders.

The proposal (RE 188-13 with modifications that were jointly sponsored) would establish a new voluntary performance compliance path for the 2015 IECC: in addition to the option of prescriptive compliance and the current performance path, builders will have the option of complying by meeting the mandatory requirements, including the water heating provisions, and then meeting the target “Energy Rating Index” (ERI) score shown below. The ERI score is defined as a numerical score where 100 is equivalent to the 2006 IECC and 0 is equivalent to a net-zero home. The current RESNET HERS® (Home Energy Rating System) rating is compatible with the ERI requirements in the proposal so a builder could utilize a HERS® rating to comply using the ERI path. The required HERS® Index Scores are:

Climate Zones 1-3:              59

Climate Zones 4-5:              63

Climate Zone 6:                  62

Climate Zones 7-8:              60

In addition, the builder must comply with the envelope requirements of the 2009 IECC as a mandatory minimum. These include minimum insulation and window performance. To view a factsheet on the proposal go to HERS® Index Score Option to the 2015 IECC

David Goldstein of NRDC has posted a blog on the proposal “New Energy Code Proposal Could Save Consumers Billions … and Offer Flexibility and Simpler Compliance for Builders”.

In the blog, Mr. Goldstein states that “this makes the first time in my almost 40 years of participating in code change proceedings that builders and efficiency advocates are jointly supporting a major upgrade in energy efficiency requirements.”

NRDC estimates the proposed code upgrade would cut energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent compared to the previous 2012 IECC code, and by 40 percent compared to the 2006 IECC code.  It is estimated that the 2015 proposal would results in consumers saving $100 billion in energy costs by 2030 and reduce 560 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions (approximately equal to the emissions produced by 158 coal-fired power plants a year).

The blog posting states that “Both NRDC and builders agree that moving to a whole house performance code is a necessary next step to achieving continual improvements to efficiency.  In future energy codes, adding higher efficiencies using the prescriptive path will become increasingly difficult to justify on a cost-benefit basis and will be resisted on a measure by measure basis by builders.”

Call for Action

The posting concludes with a call for action.  “Every local jurisdiction has code officials empowered to attend the International Codes Council’s meeting in Atlantic City this October where the 2015 code will be considered.  Contact your mayor or city manager or county leadership and ask them to send representatives to the meeting and vote for our groundbreaking proposal – “Proposal RE 188-13, as amended by the jointly sponsored Public Comment”.  For cities that are trying to be green and reduce utility bills for their citizens, and many of our most prominent municipalities are advertising themselves as the greenest in the region or even the nation, supporting an advanced energy code is one of the most important actions they can take.”

To view the posting go to NRDC Blog Posting on 2015 IECC