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2020 Building Energy Code Webinar Series

The DOE Building Energy Codes Program conducted a series of virtual seminars featuring a collection of timely and emerging topics pertinent to residential and commercial buildings. While the National Energy Codes Conference (NECC) remains postponed, the discussion continues! The NECC Seminar Series provided an opportunity to highlight key issues and challenges, recent updates, as well as the various forms of technical assistance available to state and local governments.  Seminars were held weekly from September to December 2020. Each materialized across a range of engaging formats, from lectures to expert panels to interactive discussions. 


In the past two years, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) has collaborated with the U.S. Department of Energy and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to complete residential energy code field studies in all four states in the northwest region, including Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. These research studies and the resulting empirical data provide market-based evidence and understanding of how the various state codes affect new home construction and related energy performance. The speakers, key members of the field teams, will share their experiences, observations and lessons learned from their time onsite and interactions with builders and local building departments. The variation of code structures among these four states also provide insight—through tested experiences—on how DOE’s field study methodology can be tailored to state codes as well as for the upcoming 2021 IECC.

This was the eleventh event in the 2020 Building Energy Code Webinar Series.

State and local energy policies across the country are increasingly focused on strategies such as decarbonization and beneficial electrification with an eye toward a cleaner and more resilient energy system. This session will review how these trends are affecting building energy codes, from concepts such as zero-energy or zero-carbon codes, building performance standards, electrification-readiness, integration with the grid and transportation systems, and other innovative strategies.  View for an in-depth discussion on these emerging policies and how they'll affect energy codes.

This was the tenth event in the 2020 Building Energy Code Webinar Series.

Building codes continue to incorporate advanced technologies that enable more dynamic operation, increased energy efficiency and maximum cost optimization. This discussion-based session will explore impacts and opportunities for building codes and advanced technologies. Topics include energy storage, EV-readiness, grid-interactive efficient buildings (GEB), and more! Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to come with your favorite technology in mind and prepare for an electrifying discussion on the role of technology and how they'll impact buildings in the not-so-distant future.

This was the ninth event in the 2020 Building Energy Code Webinar Series.

Speakers experienced with the code development process discuss what has changed in the residential provisions from the previous edition of the International Energy Conservation Code. Unlike previous code updates, significant updates and new content will be incorporated into the new code. A few of the many changes that will be discussed include updates to the thermal envelope, revisions to duct testing, lighting efficiency improvements, and the inclusion of an additional efficiency options package and Net-Zero Appendix.

This was the eighth event in the 2020 Building Energy Code Webinar Series.

In order to meet the demand for increased levels of energy efficiency in commercial buildings, ASHRAE 90.1 is pursuing several novel ways to improve whole-building performance. This seminar explored several strategies that are expected to debut in the next edition of the Standard in 2022; on-site renewable energy, envelope thermal bridging, advanced HVAC metrics and an envelope back-stop. After a brief presentation on each topic, the panel of presenters answered questions and sought feedback from the audience on these and other strategies that 90.1 should be considering.

This was the seventh event in the 2020 Building Energy Code Webinar Series.

With the onset of COVID-19, the building industry had to quickly adapt to the changing landscape. As a result, remote inspections, which historically have only been used by few jurisdictions, quickly became the buzz word around building departments and job sites. This panel discussion includes highlights from a local jurisdiction; considerations and best practices; and resources available and under development.

This was the sixth event in the 2020 Building Energy Code Webinar Series.

Speakers experienced with the code development process discussed what has changed in the commercial provisions from the previous edition of the International Energy Conservation Code. This update ran the gambit in terms of updates to longstanding code measures - such as lighting and building envelope improvements - to new code content covering EV charging, a point based additional efficiency table, and a Net-Zero Appendix..

This was the fifth event in the 2020 Building Energy Code Webinar Series.

Performance-based energy code compliance requires energy modeling and has not been the predominant compliance path for both commercial and residential buildings across the country. In the commercial sector, ASHRAE Standard 90.1 issued a new performance path called the Performance Rating Method (Appendix G) in 2016. However, in terms of compliance path chosen, performance-based compliance still represents a minority of projects. This webinar presented state-of-the-art tools and resources to address compliance barriers in implementing Appendix G in commercial buildings. It also highlighted how utility incentive programs and other above-code programs use Appendix G for their whole building performance-based program implementation.

This was the fourth event in the 2020 Building Energy Code Webinar Series 

Homes built to today’s building codes have tight envelopes (low infiltration!), high levels of insulation (low thermal conductivity!), and ducts in the conditioned space (small duct losses!). This leads to a situation where the home has comparatively low heating and cooling loads; say, 1500 ft2 or more of conditioned space per ton of mechanical cooling. The HVAC design problem becomes … how does a contractor cost-effectively ensure occupant comfort in a 2400 ft2 newly-constructed home where the sized HVAC equipment is only 1.5 ton … and providing only 600 CFM of air delivery for the entire home? This session addresses the design considerations, equipment offerings, and trade-offs of low-load homes.

This was the third event in the 2020 Building Energy Code Webinar Series

Online or electronic construction permitting is changing the way municipalities across the country issue permits and schedule inspections. For builders, plan reviewers, inspectors, and municipal and state administrators, online or electric permitting systems can streamline and expedite the construction process while helping municipalities ensure code compliance and enforcement. View this webinar recording to learn about electronic permitting systems in use by building departments across the land and how they might apply to your jurisdiction.

This was the second event in the 2020 Building Energy Code Webinar Series.