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


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