The International Code Council celebrates the 20th anniversary of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) this year. The IECC, which addresses the design of energy-efficient building envelopes and the installation of energy-efficient mechanical, lighting, and power systems through requirements emphasizing performance, is in use across the United States, member nations of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Abu Dhabi.
To date, the energy code has saved U.S. consumers over $44 billion and avoided 36 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Between 2010 and 2040, the U.S. Department of Energy expects that model building energy codes will save homeowners and businesses up to $126 billion in energy costs. In June, the United States Conference of Mayors unanimously adopted a resolution in support of the IECC as a cost-effective strategy to lower energy waste in the buildings sector and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As leaders charged with implementing building codes at the local level, mayors provide an essential voice in the IECC’s development and implementation.
Beyond energy savings, the IECC plays a critical role in promoting safer and more resilient buildings. The IECC’s building envelop provisions help control for condensation that could otherwise turn to rot, which destroys the building structure, and mold and mildew, which harm human health. Its air management requirements protect occupants from external hazards, like garage car exhaust and radon, and ensure adequate ventilation of indoor emissions from certain building materials, finishes, paints and cleaning products. In addition, the IECC’s requirements for tight construction and air sealing help prevent the spread of fire and spoke. The IECC also helps maintain livable temperatures for longer in cases of extreme weather, allowing occupants to “shelter in place.” A study after Superstorm Sandy – which left 8 million people without power – showed that new energy codes can allow residents to stay in their homes for more days during blackouts triggered by heat waves or cold freezes.
After 20 years of contributions to energy savings and life safety, the IECC continues to evolve to incorporate the latest technologies. The next cycle of the code development process, to include proposals for the 2021 IECC, begins in September. Proposed code changes to the IECC are due through ICC’s online portal cdpACCESS by Jan. 7, 2019.
Later this year, the Code Council, ASHRAE, the U.S. Green Building Council, and other partners will be releasing the 2018 International Green Construction Code for high performance buildings. This updated code will further advance energy and water conservation and includes efficiency measures that result in lower operating costs, better indoor environments and a decreased impact on natural resources.
For more information, visit www.iccsafe.org/.