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Washington, DC

State Profile

Code Type: Commercial Residential
Current State Code ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2013 with Amendments 2015 IECC with Amendments
Effective Date
Adoption Date
State Amendments Yes Yes
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 $0.08B $0.15B
Energy (primary) 7MBtu 14MBtu

Consumer Cost Savings

Consumer Cost Savings Residential
per Home
per 1,000 ft2
Annual ($) $97 $54
Annual (%) 7.5%
Life-cycle (30 year) $1367 $14640
Simple Payback 3.0 years 0.0 years
Positive Cash Flow 0.4 years


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

Additional Information

Washington, DC


    In 1992, the District of Columbia Energy Conservation Code was based on the 1990 edition of the Building Officials and Code Administrators (BOCA) International, National Energy Conservation Code. The District of Columbia Building Code Advisory Committee, along with the District of Columbia Energy Office, approved several amendments to the BOCA International, National Energy Conservation Code, particularly for interior and exterior lighting loads, power factor requirements, and energy-efficient motors. These amendments were included in the District's requirements on November 27, 1992.

    On November 19, 1999, the District of Columbia adopted the 1995 edition of the BOCA code as the basis for its energy conservation code. No amendments were made either to the CABO Model Energy Code (for residential) or to ASHRAE 90.1 (for commercial).

    In 2004, after a six-year effort to make building codes consistent throughout the U.S., the nation's three regional model code-writing organizations (BOCA, ICBO. and SBCCI) have developed a model code package the International Construction Codes, that includes 11 compatible codes that complement each other. Supplements are issued annually, and new editions are published at three-year intervals. During FY 2003, the D.C. Building Code Advisory Committee reviewed the 2000 ICC family of codes, of which the International Energy Conservation Code is a part, for adoption by the District of Columbia. On January 9, 2004 the 2000 IECC, without amendment, took effect.

    On December 5, 2006, the D.C. City Council unanimously passed the D.C. Green Building Act, according to which the Mayor was to submit a comprehensive set of green building standards by January 2008. These standards were not only expected to include the provisions of the 2006 IECC; starting in 2012, they were expected to require all commercial development of 50,000 square feet or more to qualify for LEED certification. Incentives for early adopters of green building practices were envisaged for the period before 2012.

    On December 2, 2008, the D.C. City Council adopted new residential and commercial building codes that incorporate many energy efficiency and green building standards. Replacing the previous code based on the 2000 IECC that became effective in January 2004, the 2008 D.C. Construction Codes were developed from ASHRAE 90.1-2007 for commercial buildings (about 7% more energy efficient than the standard in place for neighboring Virginia and Maryland) and the "30% Solution" for residential buildings (30% energy savings above the 2006 IECC, or about 30% more energy efficient than the standard in place for Virginia and Maryland), which was a comprehensive package of amendments offered at the 2009 International Code Council hearings in September.

    The new codes also contain several greening amendments recommended by the D.C. Green Building Advisory Council (GBAC), including (among others) cool roofs, on-site stormwater retention, and low-flow residential and commercial plumbing fixtures. The new codes were effective immediately upon publication in the D.C. Register on December 26, 2008, but contain a one-year transition period during which building permit applications may use either the new code or the previous code adopted in 2003 (based on the 2000 IECC).

    In addition to D.C.'s building codes, D.C. passed the Clean and Affordable Energy Act of 2008 (B17-492) that establishes energy benchmarking requirements for government and private buildings. Starting in the fall of 2009, government buildings must be benchmarked using the Energy StarTM Portfolio Manager tool. Annual benchmarking for private buildings will be phased in over four years, starting on January 1, 2010.

    On March 28, 2014, the District of Columbia Construction Codes Supplement 2013 became effective and includes the 2012 IECC as well as the suite of 2012 ICC codes.

    In October 2015, the DC Construction Codes Coordinating Board commenced a new code development cycle based on the 2015 ICC codes, 2014 NEC and 90.1-2013. Technical advisory groups (TAGs) devoted to each code reviewed the updates to the model codes and drafted proposed DC amendments. In the case of the Energy Conservation Code, the TAG also worked with the New Buildings Institute to help craft DC’s net-zero energy alternative compliance pathway, Appendix Z. After reviews by the Mayor’s office, the proposed DC amendments were put out for two rounds of public comment and revision. Extensive public outreach and education was done as part of the first public comment period to ensure robust engagement. Issues were discussed with the commenter directly wherever possible. Ultimately, Council opted not to hold a public hearing on the final proposed code amendments, relying on the extensive public engagement process. The codes were approved by Council on April 9th and effective on May 29th.

    State-Owned/Funded Buildings

    The Green Building Act of 2006 requires that all District owned or financed non-residential buildings greater than 50,000 square feet meet the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED certification standards for environmental performance at the “Silver” level or higher. District owned or financed residential projects 10,000 square feet or larger must meet or exceed Enterprise Community Partners’ Green Communities certification standard. The definition used for publicly owned or financed is rather expansive and includes any project receiving at least 15 percent of project’s total cost from public sources, including tax abatement, tax credits or other sources.

    Adoption Process

    The D.C Energy Conservation Code is updated regularly as model codes are revised or if a change is proposed by local code enforcement officials, industry, design professionals, or other interested parties. Proposals are initiated by the District of Columbia Construction Code Coordinating Board. Proposals are published and public hearings are held. The District of Columbia Council has final approval of all proposed code changes.

    Enforcement Process

    Enforcement (all plan reviews, interpretations, and appeals) is the responsibility of the Building and Land Regulation Administration, which is a part of the District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

    Compliance Process

    Compliance is determined by plan review and field inspection.