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South Carolina

State Profile

Code Type: Commercial Residential
Current State Code 2009 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1-2007 2009 IECC
Effective Date
Adoption Date
State Amendments No No
State Code Analysis*
Enforcement Mandatory Statewide Mandatory Statewide
Can use COM/REScheck Yes Yes


Commercial Residential
Current Model Code ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007 2009 IECC
Yes Yes

Model Code Savings Potential

Statewide Savings Potential (2010-2030) Residential Commercial
Cost $1.11B $0.47B
Energy (primary) 94MBtu 54MBtu

Consumer Cost Savings

Consumer Cost Savings Residential
per Home
per 1,000 ft2
Annual ($) $329 $130
Annual (%) 18.8%
Life-cycle (30 year) $4390 $2380
Simple Payback 5.0 years 0.0 years
Positive Cash Flow 0.6 years


Code Type: Residential Commercial
Field Study No No
Training Program No No

Additional Information

South Carolina


    The South Carolina Building Energy Efficiency Standard Act was first enacted in 1979. The Act referenced the Southern Building Code Congress, International (SBCCI) Standard Building Code for energy provisions. Over time, revisions were undertaken by the legislature. The 1993 Building Energy Efficiency Standard Act, enacted by SB 1273, adopts Appendix E (at the time of passage) of the current version of the SBCCI Standard Building Code. The 1994 edition of the Standard Building Code requires compliance with the 1993 Council of American Building Officials (CABO) Model Energy Code (MEC), although ANSI/ASHRAE/IES 90A or 90B is adopted in the Standard Building Code as an option for one- and two-family dwellings and multi-family residential buildings not over three stories high. Alternative compliance criteria using a list of thermal envelope requirements is also provided for one- and two-family dwellings. ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-1989, which is adopted by reference in the adopted 1993 MEC, is applicable to commercial buildings and residential buildings over three stories high. At the time, the code only applied to areas that had adopted the code, and about 27 out of 46 counties had done so. A bill (S.66), filed in 1994 to require all municipalities and counties to adopt the most current building codes, passed the South Carolina State Senate in February 1996 and was sent to the Real Estate Subcommittee of the House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee, where it was rejected. The bill called for the adoption and enforcement of the latest editions of the SBCCI Standard Codes and the MEC. Opposition was based on the need for local governments to raise taxes or fees to implement the codes. The state hoped to reintroduce the same bill after the November 1996 elections. On February 18, 1997, HB 3175, requiring statewide use of the most up-to-date building codes, which would require adoption and enforcement of the 1995 MEC, passed the South Carolina House Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry. A similar bill, Senate Bill 236, passed the Senate on February 19 and was referred to the House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee. The bill requires that all municipalities and counties adopt and enforce the latest editions of the SBCCI Standard Codes and the MEC. The Governor signed a statewide building code bill in the summer of 1997. Starting July 2, 2003, the Council was charged with the responsibility for adopting all mandatory building codes and establishing the date of implementation for the local jurisdictions. Previous adoptions of energy codes in South Carolina were the 2000 IECC on May 24, 2000 (effective July 1, 2001) and the 2003 IECC on May 26, 2004 (effective January 1, 2005). On November 28, 2007, the South Carolina Building Code Council (BCC) formally adopted the 2006 IECC for non-residential buildings. Due to the statuary process for code adoption, the 2006 IECC was officially implemented in South Carolina on July 1, 2008. On June 2, 2009, Gov. Mark Sanford signed legislation (HB 3550) which mandates the 2006 IECC for all new and renovated buildings effective July 1, 2009. Local building officials are required to enforce the new standards, and alternate enforcers would be provided in areas that do not have building code officials. The legislation also calls for the South Carolina Building Codes Council (BCC) to adopt by reference and amend the latest editions of the I-Codes published by the International Code Council. Most importantly, the bill removes a residential compliance option (see below) which weakens the energy savings achievable through the 2006 IECC by allowing homes to meet state code through four prescriptive R-values (the energy efficiency of such homes is comparable to those built using the 1992 Model Energy Code, or MEC). Original language calling for adoption of the "current edition" of the IECC was amended during the committee process to the "2006" IECC. **Residential requirements prior to July 1, 2009: These were addressed in the South Carolina Code of Laws, Title 6, Chapter 10 (the Building Energy Efficiency Standard Act). Section 6-10-30 references the current edition of Appendix J (Code for Energy Conservation in new building construction) to the Standard Building Code of the Southern Building Code Congress International, which prohibits the Building Code Council from adopting energy code requirements for residential buildings other than those listed in the statute. The BCC cannot apply the energy efficiency chapter of the IRC (Chapter 11), and it has been deleted in the version of the 2003 IRC with state-specific modifications that South Carolina adopted. Appendix J provides only prescriptive R-values and is most comparable to the 1992 Model Energy Code (MEC) in energy efficiency. Among the regulations from section 6-10-30: - In one and two family dwellings, double pane or storm windows must be used for window glass and in the case of ceilings, exterior walls, floors with crawl space, and heating and air conditioning duct work, the determination of the minimum thermal resistance ratings (R-value) must be: 1. R-30 for ceilings, except for ceiling/roof combinations, which must be R-19; 2. R-13 for exterior walls; 3. R-19 for floors with crawl space; 4. R-6, or the installed equivalent, for heating and air conditioning duct-work not located in conditioned space - Nothing in this subsection may be construed to inhibit utilization of higher minimum thermal ratings. To facilitate the affordability of purchases of housing, minimum thermal resistance ratings of R-19 for ceilings and R-11 for floors may be used provided the builder discloses the insulation levels to the buyer. The certificate of disclosure of non-compliance must be on a form available from the South Carolina Residential Builders Commission and a copy must be submitted to the commission which must keep it for thirteen years. On January 25, 2012, South Carolina passed the house bill for 2009 IECC through a subcommittee. On April 2, 2012 Gov. Nikki Haley signed the bill into law.

    State-Owned/Funded Buildings

    Energy use reduction of 1% annually for five years beginning July 1, 2008; 20% energy use reduction relative to 2000 by July 1, 2020. Generally, major facility projects must be constructed to achieve LEED Silver - the legislation specifically requires a minimum of four credits earned in Energy & Atmosphere Credit 1, "Optimize Energy Performance". or receive Two Globes under the Green Globe rating system; other paths to compliance are available based on 30-year life cycle cost analysis. All major facility projects in the State must be analyzed using a life cycle cost analysis comparing the cost and benefits of designing, constructing, maintaining, and operating the facility at the LEED Silver standard or two globes standard, or better, with certification; normal industry and regulatory standards as applicable; or some standard between the two that causes the project to be designed and constructed in a manner that achieves the lowest thirty-year life cycle cost (State Building Energy Standards, 2007).

    Adoption Process

    Adoption of changes is achieved by state legislation.

    Enforcement Process

    Local units of government enforce the code through the normal inspection process. Depending on the size of the local government unit, the same individual may be responsible for performing plan reviews and inspections.

    Compliance Process

    In areas where local governments have adopted the code, compliance is determined by plan review and inspection by local building officials. For local government with no building official, the engineer or director of public works or chief fire inspector may be called upon to act as the enforcement agency. Some jurisdictions may accept a registered design professional's seal on a letter stating that the design conforms with the adopted code. Acceptance of such a letter is totally up to the local building official. Disputes between owners, builders, or design professionals and the local building official can be taken to the local Board of Appeals (BOA) for a hearing. Decisions made by the BOA are ethically binding on the participating parties. Details of this process are provided in Chapter 1 of the Standard Building Code.