Tuesday, June 19, 2012

IMT Announces Call for Entries for Excellence in Energy Code Compliance Award

On June 18, the Institute for Market Transformation announced a call for entries for the first ever Excellence in Energy Code Compliance Award. This award will recognize the best state, local and third-party energy code compliance programs in the U.S. The deadline for applying is August 15 and winners will be announced at the International Code Council Annual Conference in October in Portlland, Oregon. Winners will also be profiled in an article in Eco Home Magazine.

For more information and the application visit: www.imt.org/codecompliance

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Code Compliance in Renovations

It’s no secret that compliance rates for new construction with national model energy codes (International Energy Conservation Code and ASHRAE Standard 90.1) are staggeringly low.  A recent white paper from the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (www.mwalliance.org) summarizes energy code compliance rates in three states, ranging from 16 to 70 percent for new construction. It is well understood that building energy codes apply to all new construction, and their requirements are fairly straight forward.

Now consider that the application of energy codes to additions, alterations and renovations to existing buildings is not well known and not so straight forward and you begin to realize that energy code compliance for these types of projects is certainly much lower than for new construction. This noncompliance leaves a tremendous amount of potential energy savings on the table, especially when considering that 50 percent of the U.S. building stock is expected to be renovated over the next 30 years.1

The Global Buildings Performance Network (GBPN) has recognized this potential for energy savings and is supporting research into best practices and the development of materials to explain the application of energy codes to work being done on existing buildings. As the U.S. Hub of the GBPN, the Institute for Market Transformation has been leading this much needed work and recently published five brochures that explain the application of the International Energy Conservation Code to additions, alterations and renovations to existing buildings.

Tri-fold brochure for commercial buildings
Ensuring that design professionals, builders, trades and code officials understand when the energy code applies to a project and what aspects of the project it will impact is a critical first step to securing simple energy savings in building renovations.

Each of the five brochures can be downloaded at www.imt.org/codecompliance. The brochures can also be customized by individual states and localities with their logos and contact information. To obtain an editable version of the brochures, please email Ryan at ryan@imt.org


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Webinar on Improving Energy Code Compliance--Feb. 23 @ 2PM

On February 23, I will be speaking on the topic of Local Strategies for Improving Energy Code Compliance, in a FREE webinar at 2 PM Eastern.  This webinar is intended for elected officials, appointed officials, code officials, energy officials, sustainability directors, advocates and other stakeholders.

Over the past six years, national model energy codes have increased energy efficiency by an average of 30%. Unfortunately, these potential savings often go unrealized due to a lack of compliance. This webinar will offer strategies that cash-strapped local governments can use to ensure that buildings are meeting the energy code without busting their budgets.

More and more lately there are stories of local governments implementing energy efficiency programs for their own public buildings because it is a cost effective way to reduce operating expenses. Often these same local governments have inadequate programs to enforce the energy code for newly constructed privately owned buildings in their jurisdiction. Local government officials should realize that the same benefits they are realizing by reducing the energy costs in their own buildings can be realized by their businesses and citizens, if they enforce the energy code for new construction and renovations. It's also worth noting that lower energy costs cause other forms of consumer spending (discretionary spending) to increase, which could have economic benefits for local communities. 

Webinar attendees will leave with an understanding of the importance of enforcing the energy code as well as effective strategies for doing so. 

    Also speaking: John Umphress, Austin Energy Green Building Program, Austin, Texas; and Jim H. Brown, City of Gillette, Wyoming. This event is produced by IMT and presented by the National League of Cities' Sustainability Program, the National Association of CountiesICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, and the National Association of State Energy Officials.

The three strategies that will be addressed include:

Design Professional Accountability.  This strategy examines the requirement in Wisconsin that a design professional be involved in the construction inspection process for all commercial buildings over 50,000 cubic feet and sign a statement of compliance prior to the certificate of occupancy being issued. The statement of compliance includes energy code provisions as well as other building code requirements.

Streamlining Compliance Processes. Streamlining is the practice of improving building regulatory processes to remove overlap and duplication and create more efficient administrative procedures. When implemented properly this strategy not only makes building departments more efficient and effective at enforcing construction code requirements, but it also improves customer service and provides financial savings for the local government, its citizens and private industry. 

Third-Party Enforcement. Third-party enforcement can take on many variations which range from a comprehensive program for all code enforcement activities to specific third-party enforcement for individual activities such as performance testing, plan review or energy code inspections. Varying third-party enforcement strategies will be discussed.

View a recording of the webinar here.