Methodology for Evaluating Cost-Effectiveness of Residential Energy Code Changes

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Building Energy Codes Program has developed and established a methodology for evaluating the energy and economic performance of residential energy codes. This methodology serves two primary purposes. First, as DOE participates in the consensus processes of the International Code Council, the methodology described herein will be used by DOE to ensure that its proposals are both energy efficient and cost effective. Second, when a new version of the International Energy Conservation Code is published, DOE will evaluate the new code as a whole to establish expected energy savings and cost effectiveness, which will help states and local jurisdictions interested in adopting the new codes. DOE's measure of cost-effectiveness balances longer-term energy savings against additions to initial costs through a life-cycle cost perspective.

2015 Revision to this document was posted August 12, 2015. This document is an update to the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) cost-effectiveness methodology originally published in April, 2012. Changes include correction of a few typographical errors in life-cycle costing equations and building prototype descriptions; several modifications to the single-family building prototype used in simulating energy performance, including increasing the aspect ratio—and hence, the relative areas of exterior walls and ceilings—to better reflect typical new home construction, simplification of roof/ceiling configurations when non-roof components are being evaluated, and correction of the internal gains to reflect a three-bedroom house rather than a four-bedroom; and the addition of an abbreviated set of representative climate locations to be used when state-level aggregations are not needed.

Publication Date: 
Monday, April 30, 2012