The U.S. Department of Energy is coordinating strategies and activities with companies, individuals, and government entities to demonstrate, quantify, and monetize energy code compliance and coordinate deployment at the local, state, and regional levels.
Consumer Assurance through Code Compliance
Energy efficiency measures in the buildings sector, if properly realized and captured, provide a tremendous opportunity to reduce energy consumption and expenditures. Yet currently there is a lack of assurance that buildings as designed realize the levels of energy efficiency established in the ratified codes. As such, building owners and occupants may in turn not be realizing the energy and cost savings benefits inherent in the code. A year-long study by NYSERDA, Improved Code Enforcement: A Powerful Policy Tool- Lessons Learned from New York State, on the evaluation of energy code compliance in New York estimates cost impacts of $373 per year for each non-compliant home. Lost energy code savings for the commercial sector were estimated at 5% of annual energy costs, or about $0.10 per square foot of floor area. Lost benefits is one of the great shortcoming in ensuring buildings are a proactive, reliable energy resource now and into the future.
Through combined efforts, consumers now have the opportunity to achieve cost-effective energy savings from advances in the model codes and standards that are 30% more efficient than just 7 or 8 years ago. To realize these opportunities, priorities may shift to reflect improved compliance in order to insure that consumers and structures are realizing these large efficiency gains — and to ensure both the consumer and building are achieving the savings (i.e. that the savings are real, tangible, and bankable). Furthermore, effective compliance and enforcement may unlock deeper energy savings, reduced costs, higher building resale value, minimized environmental impact, and most importantly consumer safety protection.
While there may be no “one-size-fits-all” solution for increasing and demonstrating energy code compliance across the United States, DOE is focused on identifying comprehensive models capable of verifying compliance as a fundamental pathway to meeting reduction targets, at multiple levels, without impeding current market practices.
Code Compliance Technical Meeting
As a first step to better understanding a range of perspectives on energy code compliance, the Building Technologies Office (BTO) held a technical meeting in April 2013 in Washington, DC. Download and view the technical booklet from the meeting. Presentations on recent efforts nationwide included:
- Findings from Report on Involvement of Utilities in Code Adoption and Implementation; Harry Misuriello, ACEEE
- Attribution for Energy Savings Report; Carolyn Sarno, NEEP
- Impact of Requiring HERS Ratings and the Benefits of Performance-based Codes; Ian Finlayson, Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources
- Compliance Efforts in Minnesota; Bruce Nelson, Minnesota Department of Commerce
- Compliance Efforts in the Northwest; Gary Nordeen, Washington State University
- Expanding the Conversation to Conquer Compliance; Eric Makela, BrittMakela Group
- Energy Code Ambassadors Project and Recent Consumer Outreach Efforts; Maureen Guttman, BCAP
- Utility Savings Estimator Tool; Sean McDonald, PNNL
In addition to the presentations and takeaways from the Compliance Technical Meeting, the following reports referenced in many of the presentations above provide insights from case studies and lessons learned which will inform the development of compliance models.
- Building Energy Code Advancement through Utility Support and Engagement; ACEEE
- Attributing Building Energy Code Savings to Energy Efficiency Programs; NEEP, IMT, & IEE
- Washington Residential Energy Code Compliance Study; The Cadmus Group
- Integrating Codes and Standards into Electric Utility Energy Efficiency Portfolios; IEE
- Leveraging State Energy Office-Utility Partnerships to Advance Building Energy Codes; NASEO