Homebuyers Will Soon Pocket Thousands of Dollars from DC’s Adoption of More Efficient Building Energy Code
Utility Bill Savings Will Eclipse Cost of Efficiency Investments in New Homes, Renovations
WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 6, 2012 – (RealEstateRama) — The announcement by Mayor Vincent C. Gray that the District of Columbia will adopt the newest version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), which sets energy standards for new home construction and renovations to existing homes, means energy cost savings for generations of D.C. homeowners.
The 2012 IECC – published by the International Code Council and developed by its state and local governmental members from across the nation, including D.C. – improves energy efficiency by 30% in America’s homes and commercial buildings, which consume the most energy of any sector of the U.S. economy.
“There are no losers with this visionary policy,” said William Fay, executive director of the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition (EECC), whose supporters participated actively in the development of the new 2012 code. “As greater building efficiency reduces energy demand, homeowners, Main Street businesses and prospective new businesses benefit from more stable energy prices, the need for new power plants can be delayed and our nation’s over-dependence on energy imports may be eased.
“Furthermore, at a time when low-income housing advocacy groups have found that the leading cause of foreclosure, after inability to pay the mortgage, is inability to pay utility bills, the 2012 IECC will be welcome news to District homebuyers, homeowners and renters struggling to make ends meet,” Fay added.
The 2012 IECC is the culmination of years of efforts led by local, state and federal policy-makers to improve the efficiency of the model energy code by at least 30% over the 2006 IECC. Nearly all states operate under a version of the IECC, which is the only model residential energy code referenced in federal statutes. The involvement of state and local building code officials ensures that the code references readily-available technologies that are being employed in construction every day. Newly-announced efficiency standards by the U.S. Department of Energy for furnaces air conditioners and heat pumps, when effective, will tack on substantial additional savings to the 2012 IECC.
“Whole Building” Approach To Improving Building Efficiency
2012 IECC represents an integrated, “whole building” approach to improving efficiency in new and renovated homes and commercial buildings. For homes, improvements incorporated in the 2012 IECC will:
- Ensure that new homes are better sealed to reduce heating and cooling losses;
- Improve the efficiency of windows and skylights;
- Increase insulation in ceilings, walls and foundations;
- Reduce wasted energy from leaky heating and cooling ducts;
- Improve hot-water distribution systems to reduce wasted energy and water in piping; and
- Boost indoor and outdoor lighting efficiency.
Efficiency gains for commercial buildings in the 2012 IECC include improved insulation and windows; continuous air barriers; daylighting controls; and increased use of economizers. The new code allows designers a choice of three paths to compliance that will increase efficiency: using renewable energy, installing more efficient heating and cooling equipment or installing more efficient lighting systems.
In addition, the new code requires the ”commissioning” of new commercial buildings – integrally linking efficient building designs with lifelong building performance by applying a systematic quality assurance approach for monitoring, identifying and making corrections when energy savings aren’t living up to expectations.
William Fay 202-530-2214;