2018 building energy code upholds efficiency gains

Efforts to scale back efficiency requirements largely defeated.

January 05, 2017 |

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After being pressured to scale back efficiency provisions in the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), code officials largely held the line on efficiency gains made in recent versions, according to Lauren Urbanek, Senior Energy Policy Advocate, Energy & Transportation program with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“The building code was under attack at every step of this year-long process,” Urbanek writes. “There were many proposals that would have significantly weakened the code and allowed more opportunities for energy waste, but nearly all were defeated.”

Urbanek noted just one efficiency gain in the new commercial code—one that pertains to water flow in showers. It sets the maximum flow rate of showerheads in commercial buildings at 2.0 gallons per minute, the level that has been specified by the EPA Water Sense program since 2010.

The IECC is used as a model code by more than 40 states. It is updated every three years.

A home built to the 2012 code uses about half of the energy as a standard home constructed in 1975, according to Urbanek.

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