The Impact of Building Energy Codes

Building energy codes represent a significant savings opportunity for U.S. home and business owners. Model energy codes1 for residential and commercial buildings are projected to save (cumulative 2010-2040):

  • $126 billion energy cost savings
  • 841 MMT of avoided CO2 emissions
  • 12.82 quads of primary energy

These savings equate to the annual emissions of:

  • 177 million passenger vehicles
  • 245 coal power plants
  • 89 million homes2

For perspective, the primary energy consumption of the entire U.S. commercial and residential sectors in 2015 was estimated at 38 quads.3

 
Assessing Model Code Impacts

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) evaluates impacts of model energy codes in residential and commercial buildings. The most recent assessment focuses on the current model codes and their prospective national and state-level impacts from 2010 through 2040.
Read the report.

This builds upon a previous study reviewing the historical impacts of building energy codes.

 
The Building Energy Codes Program

The DOE Building Energy Codes Program contributes to these savings by supporting the adoption and implementation of the model energy codes. The Program accomplishes this by:

  • Participating in industry processes to develop codes—analyzing energy and cost savings associated with code updates and improvements
  • Providing technical assistance to states and localities—helping them adopt and implement better codes
  • Supporting energy code compliance—ensuring that intended savings are realized by U.S. home and business owners

A detailed description of the Program's history, current goals, and future plans is included in the DOE Building Technologies Office (BTO) Multi Year Program Plan. Learn more.

DOE's activities surrounding building energy codes are established by Congress through federal statutory directives. Learn more.


1 As defined by statute, the model energy codes are the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for residential buildings, and ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1 for commercial buildings (42 USC 6833)
2 EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator
3 EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2016, Energy Consumption by Sector and Source (Table A2)