Stretch Codes

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) are developing a series of technical briefs supporting national, state, and local initiatives to update and advance building energy codes. These technical briefs are presented in a module-based format, based on technologies, measures or practices (or optimized combinations) that can be incorporated as “plug-ins” to building energy codes. These plug-ins are made available for adoption directly by state and local governments pursuing advanced energy savings and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions, as well as for future consideration for the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and Standard 90.1. The collection supports the adoption of stretch codes, helping state and local governments pursue their energy and climate goals, as well as the Department’s broader mission to provide technical assistance supporting the implementation of state and local energy codes (42 USC 6833).

Currently available plug-ins are presented below. Each tech brief provides an overview of a given topic, plus supporting technical information and analysis estimating the associated impacts. In addition, sample code language is provided to illustrate how a given concept can be overlaid on top of the current model codes (e.g., IECC or Standard 90.1). Additional technical assistance is available from DOE and PNNL to support states and local governments who are interested in adding these concepts or other “stretch” provisions to their building codes. Assistance typically includes technical guidance, customized analysis of expected impacts (e.g., based on state-specific building stock, climate considerations, or utility prices), and further tailored code language to overlay state building codes or other standards. DOE works continuously with states and local governments to identify new concepts and practices that support their needs and plans to issue additional plug-in concepts in the future on a rolling basis.

Technical Briefs

Title Description Report Link Fact Sheet Link
EV Charging

Numerous studies show that sales of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) have grown consistently over the past 2 years in the U.S. Edison Electric Institute (EEI) estimates one million PEVs on the road in 2018 and forecasts a total of 18.7 million PEVs on the road by 2030. Based on this forecast, EEI projects the need for an additional 9.6 million PEV charging stations by 2030.

States and local governments have expressed interest to DOE in having energy code overlay requirements to support policy goals. This technical brief provides code language for PEV charging infrastructure for adoption by model codes, and states and local governments.

EV Tech Brief EV Fact Sheet
Simplified HVAC System Performance This technical brief provides an additional heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) System Performance path that goes beyond the prescriptive energy code. It provides a comprehensive performance-based approach for HVAC system evaluation and analysis. HSP Tech Brief HSP Fact Sheet
Energy Credits This technical brief provides additional energy efficiency measures that go beyond the current prescriptive commercial energy codes. It demonstrates relative savings for multiple measures and shows a base savings package by building type and climate zone that is cost effective for building owners and tenants. Energy Credits Tech Brief Energy Credits Fact Sheet

DOE Building Energy Codes Program

The U.S. Department of Energy supports the advancement of building energy codes, including stretch codes that empower states and local governments in achieving their energy and climate goals. Modern building codes and standards offer cost-effective solutions, contributing to lower utility bills for homes and businesses, and helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Learn more at