November 4 A new national building code that will deliver 30% more energy savings than the existing code recently took a significant step toward adoption, as the result of a vote by more than 500 state and local code officials, reports the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
The model energy code governs home and commercial building construction, additions, and renovations in 47 states and the District of Columbia where local building codes are based on these national model standards.
The proposals adopted into the new code address all aspects of residential and commercial building construction, laying a strong foundation for residential efficiency gains and leading commercial building efficiency improvements, ACEEE say.
In the residential sector, the proposed new code calls for:
Homes to better sealed to reduce heating and cooling losses.
More energy-efficient windows and skylights.
Increased insulation in ceilings, walls and foundations.
Less wasted energy from leaky heating and cooling ducts.
More efficient hot water distribution systems.
Greater lighting efficiency.
The package of improvements for commercial buildings should match those for homes in terms of energy savings, says ACEEE. In addition, the commercial buildings package includes continuous air barriers, delighting controls, use of economizers in additional climates, and a choice of three paths for designers and developers to increase efficiency: renewable energy systems, more efficient HVAC equipment, or improved lighting systems. The package also requires commissioning of new buildings to ensure that the actual energy performance of the building meets the design intent, ACEEE states.
The proposed code must be adopted by states and local regions before going into effect, a process that is expected to take several years.