No set schedule exists for modifying the current building and/or energy codes. The current energy code is referenced directly in legislation and can only be changed by the state legislature. The state code is mandatory, and local jurisdictions are required to adopt the Nebraska Energy Code (NEC) or another code that is determined to be at least as energy efficient as the NEC.
Local code jurisdictions are required to adopt the Nebraska Energy Code (NEC) or another code that is determined to be at least as energy efficient as the NEC. A jurisdiction may waive a specific requirement of the NEC if documentation is provided to the Energy Office indicating why the implementation of the requirement is not economically justified. The Energy Office enforces the NEC for buildings not constructed within the boundaries of a local code jurisdiction.
In jurisdictions that have adopted a code, a plan review and inspection are required at the local level only if required by the local code authority.
Plans for houses using incentive financing are reviewed and approved by the Nebraska Energy Office.
State agencies are responsible for code compliance in their new and remodeled buildings.
The first energy code in Nebraska was adopted in 1980, based on the ASHRAE/IES Standard 90-1975. This state code was modified in 1984 to require compliance with the 1983 Model Energy Code (MEC).
Legislation was proposed in the 1994-1995 to adopt the 1992 MEC statewide. The legislative bill did not pass, and the energy code for new construction remained the 1983 MEC.
In May 1999, the governor signed Legislative Bill 755, requiring all state-owned or state-funded buildings comply with the 1998 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) effective January 1, 2000.
In 2004, following the completion of an analysis ( http://www.neo.ne.gov/reports/unl_mec_study.htm ) that determined it was cost effective for the state of adopt the 2003 IECC, legislation was passed by the Unicameral to update the NEC to the 2003 IECC, effective July 1, 2005, replacing the 1983 MEC. The NEC applied to all new additions and modifications to existing buildings that exceeded 50 percent of the replacement cost of the structure. The NEC did not apply to historical buildings or manufactured housing. Manufactured housing units were regulated by the Public Service Commission.
The Energy Office offers an incentive program to reduce the mortgage interest rate for homes built above certain code levels, such as Five Star Plus, Energy Star Homes.
In 2009, a study ( http://www.neo.ne.gov/home_const/iecc/documents/NE_codes_report_6-30-09%... ) on the energy impacts in Nebraska of the 2003 IECC compared to the 2009 IECC, finding that a reduction in whole-house consumption ranging from 3-12 percent in derfferent areas of the state. Savings of 13-15 percent were achieved in homes with Energy Star rated gas furnaces.
In 2011, Legislative Bill 329, which updates the Nebraska Energy Code from the 2003 IECC to the 2009 IECC/ASHRAE 90.1-2007, was passed by the Unicameral in April and signed by the governor. The updated Nebraska Energy Code became effective August 27, 2011.
Cities and counties may adopt codes that differ from the Nebraska Energy Code; however, state law requires the adopted code to be equivalent to the Nebraska Energy Code.
For existing buildings, only those renovations that will cost more than 50 percent of the replacement cost of the building must comply with the code.