While the country has been obsessed mid-term elections, local and state building code officials passed another less conspicuous but equally important vote that will reportedly result in 30 percent more efficient buildings than those built to current standards. During the International Code Council’s (ICC) final action hearings held in Charlotte, North Carolina last month, building officials supported revisions to the commercial section of the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), one of the model building codes published by the ICC that establish minimum energy efficiency standards for new construction of residential and commercial buildings.
New residential improvements will ensure that new homes are better sealed to reduce heating and cooling losses; improve the efficiency of windows and skylights; increase insulation in ceilings, walls, and foundations; reduce wasted energy from leaky heating and cooling ducts; improve hot-water distribution systems to reduce wasted energy and water in piping, and boost lighting efficiency. Commercial improvements will call for continuous air barriers, daylighting controls, using renewable energy or installing more efficient HVAC equipment or lighting systems. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the Building Sector uses nearly half (49 percent) of all energy produced in the U.S., so these changes will be welcome.