Update on Energy & Building Code State-Level Actions

Originally published by: ASHRAE and ACC — April 30, 2018

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The following are summaries by ASHRAE and ACC of actions states have taken recently regarding the energy and/or building codes:

California Increases Efficiency Levels for Zero Energy Ready Homes

The Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) program continues to provide important energy efficiency and performance benefits in qualifying projects.  With that comes new rules, the draft provisions of which are:

Realize a compliance total with at least 15% savings beyond the Standard Design based on the 2016 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, or achieve a Delta Energy Design Rating of at least 4, as determined by a California Energy Commission approved software program.

Meet all required DOE ZERH provisions, including ENERGY STAR ® Homes certification, Indoor airPLUS certification, efficient hot water distribution, and the other mandatory provisions listed in Table 1 of the DOE ZERH – California program requirements.

These requirements may be viewed at the DOE ZERH website here.  Comments or questions may be emailed to zero@newportpartnersllc.com by May 25, 2018 with a planned effective date of October 1, 2018. Or access information on the Commission's website.

Florida to Hold Public Meetings on 2018 I Codes

The Florida Administrative Register, published on April 17, 2018, gives notice of several public hearings to be held on April 27, 30 and May 1 (in addition to one already held on April 24) to review the 2018 I Codes.  Click here to view the notices.

These reviews will consist of an "evaluation of the Cost Impact and Benefit of the 2018 I-Code Changes (Prescriptive Code Changes)." Specifically, the Florida Building Commission, Energy Technical Advisory Committee, will meet on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 beginning at 2:00 p.m.  

Georgia Energy Codes Update

The Georgia State Codes Advisory Committee (SCAC) met on February 28, 2018 to review the update to the energy code, to the 2015 IECC with Georgia State Supplements and Amendments, which include references to ASHRAE 90.1-2013 equipment efficiency standards.

The SCAC voted to approve the code and amendments, but pushed back the effective date to January 1, 2020, to provide additional time for training, as well as to align with the effective dates of other code updates currently under review (building code, residential code, mechanical code, etc.). The final step in adoption is approval by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs Board in 2019.

Building Code Rollbacks Advance in Minnesota

The Minnesota House and Senate Government Finance Committees amended omnibus appropriations legislation (HF 4016 and SF 3764) to include provisions that would thwart residential building code updates, including the energy code. These bills require any proposed rules expected to raise the cost of housing by $1,000 to be subject to additional reviews, referred to the Legislature, and placed on hold for at least a year. The mandates are supported by the Building Association of Minnesota.

Weakening Energy Code Advancements Falter in Nebraska

The Nebraska Legislature adjourned without taking action on two bills ACC opposed- LB 767 which skipped an update of the state energy code currently set at the 2009 IECC while advancing the rest of the building codes to 2018 versions; and LB 1025 which created a Building Codes Advisory Committee with no members representing consumers or with specific expertise in energy codes.

Nevada to Hold Hearings on Energy Code Adoption

The Nevada Governor's Office of Energy will hold three public meetings in May regarding adoption of 2018 IECC.  The meetings will be held May 10 in Reno, May 17 in Las Vegas and May 23 in Elko.  Click here for agendas, draft regulations and exact locations for each public meeting.

New York Governor Announces New Energy Efficiency Standards on Earth Day

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) announced new energy efficiency standards on Earth Day.  The plan includes a new target for significant greenhouse gas emission reductions, reduction of consumer energy costs and creation of new job opportunities.  Meeting the new energy efficiency target is slated to deliver nearly one third of the greenhouse gas emissions reductions needed to meet New York's climate goal of 40 percent reduction by 2030.  As part of that effort, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will commit $36.5 million to train over 19,500 New Yorkers for clean energy jobs to support this rapidly growing industry.  Already, over 110,000 New Yorkers are employed in energy efficiency related jobs. Click here for more information.

Pennsylvania Moves Forward with Energy Code Updates

The Pennsylvania Review and Advisory Council (RAC) recently approved the 2015 Residential IECC and the 2015 Commercial IECC. This is tremendous progress thanks to years of hard work on this issue. Key updates that were approved by the RAC:

  • Full 2015 IECC insulation requirements, including walls, ceiling, and basement walls.
  • Mandatory air leakage testing of all homes.
  • 2018 ERI Compromise (including enhanced thermal envelope footnote).
  • Performance path consistent with 2015 IECC (i.e. no equipment trade-offs, no insulation/fenestration trade-off loophole)