Energy code circuit riders are in-field experts that meet with specific individuals to address code compliance and enforcement needs. Circuit riders travel to individual jurisdictions to provide tailored technical assistance and resources to support energy code compliance. The Florida program aimed to develop a snapshot of code enforcement in the field, and identify needs for future targeted technical assistance to strengthen enforcement of Florida’s commercial code. This report from SEEA is the first in a series documenting the experience and findings from the Circuit Rider’s work in Florida.
The Florida Home Builders Association and the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance have teamed up to prepare building code trainers to deliver effective energy code training for the Florida construction industry. The organizations developed a curriculum in early 2015 and held the first train-the-trainer series in late February.
In September 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced eight states that would participate in a three year Residential Energy Code Field Study. The states include: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas. Through the project, DOE plans to establish a sufficient data set to represent statewide construction trends and detect significant changes in energy use from training, education and outreach activities. Through the project, DOE plans to establish a sufficient data set to represent statewide construction trends and detect significant changes in energy use from training, education and outreach activities.
As often the first point of contact with prospective owners of new homes and buildings, architects are a key influence in determining the level of energy efficiency that is included in new construction and major renovation projects. But architects have been largely absent from an important issue that’s left Pennsylvania unable to adopt an updated building code.
The City Energy Project Assessment Methodology is designed to assist cities in identifying residential and commercial energy code compliance issues and help identify the areas they should focus on in order to improve their compliance rates. The methodology helps cities identify common areas of non-compliance as well as the causes of non-compliance. So far, 10 cities are using this methodology to cut energy waste, boost local economies, and reduce harmful pollution.
More people in Oklahoma and Texas will soon enjoy the benefits of a stronger local energy code community through the work of twelve newly-certified Energy Code Ambassadors. These volunteers will work under the auspices of the South-central Partnership for Energy Efficiency as a Resource (SPEER), the newest regional energy efficiency organization. SPEER’s Ambassadors are well suited to impact building practices in the one region where the most new building is occurring, creating more efficient, durable and affordable buildings.
BCAP asked the National Energy Codes Collaborative: What have we done in 2014?
If every state began 2015 with the 2012 IECC for residential and commercial construction and moved from 60% compliance to 100% compliance by 2030, how much would the cumulative source energy savings, energy cost savings, and carbon emission reductions be in 2030?
Energy efficiency advocates, governments, utilities, and others that fund energy code compliance initiatives often question whether enforcement or training and outreach are more effective at driving higher compliance rates. The answer isn’t obvious.
Are architects unaware of their legal obligations under licensure, or are they simply negligent? Sooner or later, someone other than a sympathetic colleague is going to ask this question. Rapid change is upon us. Increasingly, consumers of design and construction services are demanding reliable metrics for building performance. Over the next 10 to 15 years, global pressures will ratchet up the “standard of care” for building designers.
A recent survey conducted by the National Institute of Building Sciences on behalf of the International Code Council (ICC) reveals information that if not addressed in the coming years, may have an impact on the public safety of thousands of communities in the United States. Just as baby boomers are having an impact across other industries, code officials are aging and making plans for retirement in significant numbers. Nearly 85 percent of respondents are over the age of 45. More importantly, over 80 percent of respondents expect to retire within the next 15 years, and more than 30 percent plan to do so within five years.
U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America Program is taking aim at barriers to innovations from codes and standards. Building America will release Code Compliance Briefs to facilitate the conversation between builders, installers, and code officials when an innovative product or technique is used in the field. The intent for Building America Code Compliance Briefs is to provide additional information to help ensure innovative measures will be deemed in acceptance with the code or standard. By providing the same information about proven innovations to all interested parties, the Building America Solution Center will facilitate code compliance for innovations at the time of plan review and field inspection, avoiding compliance problems and costly delays.
The South-central Partnership for Energy Efficiency as a Resource (SPEER) and BCAP provided thirteen building code professionals advanced training to become certified Energy Code Ambassadors in the state of Texas. These experienced code enforcement professionals have stepped forward to offer their expertise and assistance to other building departments and the construction industry, to assure that construction of buildings and homes comply with the energy code, providing greater energy efficiency.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America research program has been a source of innovations in residential building energy performance, durability, quality, affordability and comfort for nearly 20 years. This world-class research program partners with industry (including many of the top U.S. homebuilders) to bring cutting-edge innovations and resources to market.
Energy Code Ambassadors are experienced building code officials who have been specially trained and certified on the energy code, and volunteer to offer their expertise and assistance to other code professionals in their state. They provide customized assistance to other code professionals or the construction and design industry. For example, in working with neighboring building departments, they provide an overview of the state energy code, assist with a plan review or site inspection, discuss compliance software such as REScheck or COMcheck, or present a specific topic such as air barriers, or mechanical requirements.
Looking back at this year’s green projects, it seems architects should have placed greater concern on energy code compliance.
While many states have worked hard to adopt the 2009 or 2012 IECC, implementation and compliance are sometimes overlooked. But that is changing. National, regional, and local focus is shifting to address meeting the 90 percent compliance goal set by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Working with numerous state energy offices to investigate and assess a state’s existing energy code infrastructure, one common weakness BCAP identified was a lack of awareness, understanding, and involvement in the building energy code development process by design professionals.
In the wake of the Great Recession in 2009, Congress passed the Recovery Act to stimulate the national economy. Within that legislation, a pot of $3.1 billion in expanded State Energy Program (SEP) funding was linked to commitments from states to update their building energy codes and to develop plans to achieve greater rates of compliance by 2017. By January 2014, BCAP projects that about two of every three U.S. states will have implemented building energy codes that meet or exceed the energy efficiency of the model codes referenced by the Recovery Act – the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007. In finding methods of reaching these goals, a common best practice emerged: establishing a state Energy Code Compliance Collaborative.
In May 2013, eight code enforcement professionals from across Ohio were trained to become Energy Code Ambassadors for the state in a newly improved program offered by the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP) and the International Code Council (ICC). BCAP and ICC partnered with the Ohio Development Services Agency’s Office of Energy to launch the Ohio Energy Code Ambassador Program (ECAP) in coordination with the Ohio Board of Building Standards. With support from two utilities in the state, the program has set a new standard for ECAP.
On August 22, BCAP hosted an information sharing webinar on an emerging best practice in building energy codes: state Energy Code Compliance Collaboratives. A compliance collaborative is a forum for experts from diverse stakeholder groups impacted by energy codes to come together to work toward common interests and goals.
As Alabama looks to adopt its first mandatory statewide energy code in 2012, several stakeholder groups also look forward to expanding the Alabama Energy Codes Ambassadors Program (ECAP). Through an additional grant, PNNL has provided funds for travel expenses for ECAP trainees through April 2012. ECAP was established to train code officials who can provide technical assistance and training to code officials in other local jurisdictions. The program aims to train code officials to act as “peer-to-peer” mentors to assist in spreading greater knowledge of the energy codes and their enforcement. ECAP began as a partnership program between BCAP and the ICC to help better enforcement the model energy codes in order to meet 90% compliance by 2017.