On April 14, 2009, Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe signed Act No. 1494 into law. It promotes the conservation of energy and natural resources in buildings owned by the state or institutions of higher education. It establishes performance criteria and goals for sustainable and energy-efficient new and majorly renovated public buildings based on ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007. Buildings must be designed, constructed, and certified to at least 10% reduction below the baseline energy consumption determined by the performance rating method of Appendix G of ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007.
State Level: A rule-making process is used to adopt new and change existing codes. When a proposed code change is initiated by the Arkansas Energy Office (AEO), it is first reviewed by the affected parties. They evaluate the proposed changes and work with the AEO to refine them to satisfy all parties, if possible. All changes are then submitted for public hearing. After approval at the public hearing, the proposed change is acted upon by the AEO and by two legislative committees before it is included in the next edition of the code.
Local Level: The local government may adopt and implement the code, which is usually achieved through a vote of the city council or county commission. Depending on the form of government, the mayor may be required to sign the law. Because compliance is based on self-certification by the builder, the builder must address compliance upon request when the local government has not adopted the code.
In jurisdictions that have adopted codes, units of local government enforce the codes through the established inspection process. Depending on the size of the local government, the same individual may be responsible for performing plan reviews and inspections. In jurisdictions that have not adopted codes, state enforcement staff or their agents use spot inspections and consumer notifications. Because the compliance system is based on self-certification by the builder and enforcement can depend on homeowner involvement, the AEO has spent considerable effort on education and communication.
Proof and verification of compliance is required state-wide for all buildings and is demonstrated by the responsible party (e.g., builder) signing a self-certification seal. In jurisdictions that have adopted the energy code, a local inspection is required to verify compliance and the builder must sign the self-certification seal. The certification seal must be placed in the building for visible inspection. A state Board of Appeals (BOA) has been established in the regulations to resolve different interpretations of the standards. The code requires local jurisdictions that adopt the code to also establish a BOA. Compliance with the Arkansas Energy Code is determined by selecting from a set of simplified options or by using REScheck with the state specific code option for AR. These tools are used to determine minimal thermal shell requirements for residential buildings based on the 2003 IECC. Builders of commercial buildings are expected to comply with ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2001.
The first Arkansas Energy Code was enacted in 1979 and was based on the 1977 Model Code for Energy Conservation in New Building Construction (MCEC), which references ASHRAE/IES Standard 90-1975. Legislation was approved in January 1993, giving the AEO the authority to adopt new standards through a rule-making process. The AEO adopted a new code in October 1994, that became effective June 1, 1995. This code references ASHRAE Standard 90.1-1989 for commercial buildings and is based on the 1992 Model Energy Code (MEC) for residential buildings. The code was again editorially revised on May 3, 1995. This revision made no substantive changes to the energy code. The 2004 Arkansas Energy Code, based on the 2003 IECC, became effective October 1, 2004. For commercial structures, the 2004 code adopts ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2001, except for low rise buildings.
HB1663 Act 1494 was enacted in April 2009, to promote the conservation of energy and natural resources in buildings owned by public agencies and institutions of higher education. Energy use in all existing state buildings must be reduced by 20% of 2008 levels by 2014 and 30% by 2017. Public buildings must be certified to be 10% more efficient than ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007, as it existed on January 1, 2009.