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Spate of energy code appeals could hamper efficiency progress

Construction and fossil fuel interests oppose portions of latest model energy code.

September 17, 2020 |

Courtesy Pixabay

The proposed 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) would be the most energy efficient code ever, but appeals may reduce the efficiency it promotes.

Several industry groups, including the National Association of Home Builders, the Leading Builders of America, the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, the American Gas Association, and the American Public Gas Association, have appealed specific provisions of the proposed code. Among the code challenges are: electrification and electric vehicle readiness, water heating efficiency, and numerous other provisions.  

“The sheer number of appeals is unprecedented—likely because the interest in a more efficient code is greater than ever before,” writes Lauren Urbanek, a Natural Resources Defense Council policy advocate. More than 20 efficiency proposals that were approved by the ICC process and that passed the governmental vote with a supermajority have been appealed.

ICC technical committees—which are dominated by industry representatives—had voted to reject the 20 proposals. But their recommendations were overturned by a two-thirds majority vote.

The final hearing was scheduled for September 14 to discuss the legitimacy of the vote. After hearings are completed, the full ICC Board of Directors was scheduled to weigh in on September 16.

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