The grand prize winner is Hoffman Estates, Ill., of the Small Jurisdictions category; the winner of the Large Jurisdictions category is Pima County, Ariz. ; and the Energy Codes Champion Award goes to Gil Rossmiller, Chief Building Official of Parker, Colo.
We were impressed by the breadth and quality of the entries we received. Building departments from small towns, sprawling counties, and metropolises, as well as state environmental departments and energy programs, applied. It was clear to IMT that all of the award applicants put a strong emphasis on enforcing the energy code, in spite of declining budgets.
Some learned to do more with less and others fostered partnerships with outside organizations; whatever the method, many applicants have improved compliance rates in recent years and are motivating their citizens to pay attention to the energy efficiency of the buildings they occupy.
In this post, we’ll take the opportunity to highlight the grand prize winner, the building department of the Village of Hoffman Estates, Ill., and what it’s doing to improve energy code compliance.
Village of Hoffman Estates
The Village of Hoffman Estates, a suburb of Chicago with a population of 52,000, has achieved rates of over 90 percent for energy code compliance. The Code Enforcement Division, on the verge of losing inspectors during the recession, used American Recovery and Reinvestment (ARRA) grant funds to save staff positions, get members of the staff certified as Building Performance Institute (BPI) Building Energy Analysts, and organize training seminars.
It undertook the responsibility of educating the building community and residents about the energy code—staff built a demonstration “Energy House” in the Village Hall to show how residential energy products, like windows, flashing, insulation, and venting, should be installed correctly. In addition they also made instructional videos.
To assist some residents, the building department runs a program to subsidize energy assessments for homes that were built earlier than 1998, when the village started enforcing the energy code for residential buildings. With newly-purchased energy equipment, the staff point out areas of air infiltration and help homeowners identify opportunities for improvements.
Conducting energy assessments has also been educational for the staff, as well as Hoffman Estates locals—the division has learned what parts of the energy code home owners know least about and which parts of the codes homes often do not comply with. These assessments have informed a revamp of parts of the permitting and inspection process.
Even after the ARRA funding is spent, Hoffman Estates has made investments that will continue to yield benefits, educate its citizens and builders, and reinforce the importance of energy codes.
If you’re looking for materials on how to improve code compliance and streamline code processes, visit our codes page and our resource library.
In the next installment of this Awards series, we’ll highlight other winning jurisdictions and some finalists.