Stimulus bill requires states to update energy codes

January 29, 2009 |

Legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives includes $3.4 billion in energy assistance grants for states if the International Code Council’s 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) is adopted and administered. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (HR 1) passed the U.S. House of Representatives on January 28, 2009. 

The House bill requires governors who want a share of state energy assistance grants to certify their state will adopt an energy code for one- and two-family homes, townhouses and low-rise, multiple-family buildings that meets or exceeds provisions in the 2009 IECC for residential construction, and the ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2007, as referenced in the 2009 IECC for commercial buildings. This legislation also says governors must certify they will put in place a plan to achieve compliance with their certified energy codes within eight years in at least 90% of new and renovated residential and commercial building space.

Code Council CEO Rick Weiland said “this legislation is right in line with President Obama’s push to make public buildings more efficient, reduce our dependency on foreign oil, and bring down overall costs to consumers and building owners.  With buildings responsible for 40 percent of annual energy consumption and 25 percent of landfill deposits, energy efficiency is inseparable from environmental security and health safety.”

The Code Council has made it easy for states to comply with the legislation by incorporating ASHRAE 90.1 in the 2009 IECC. The ASHRAE 90.1 reference maintains language contained in the 2006 IECC currently being enforced by state and local jurisdictions. States adopting the 2009 IECC will also be in compliance with the federal Energy Policy Act.

The bill passed today requires the plan include training and enforcement programs, and measure the rate of compliance annually.  Language in the House-passed legislation was included at the request of President Barack Obama’s transition team, and approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. It is supported by a broad coalition of organizations concerned with energy efficiency, including the Edison Electric Institute, the Energy Futures Coalition, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Alliance to Save Energy.

“The Council will continue to monitor the progress of the legislation as it moves to the Senate for further consideration,” Weiland said. “We encourage our members to be ready to work with the Department of Energy and state energy offices to implement this legislation.”

Adopted at the state and local level in 39 states and Washington, D.C., the IECC residential and commercial procedures have a strong following and a well-developed format that is familiar to code officials. The 2009 IECC and other International Codes can be purchased online.


The International Code Council, a membership association dedicated to building safety and fire prevention, develops the codes used to construct residential and commercial buildings, including homes and schools. Most U.S. cities, counties and states choose the International Codes, building safety codes developed by the International Code Council.

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