March, 2009
News in Brief
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Stimulus Bill requires states to update energy codes


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 Jan. 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 percent 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. A recent U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) ruling regarding the ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA 90.1 Standard paves the way for the 2009 IECC to act as a “safe harbor” equivalent, given that the IECC incorporates the 90.1 standard by reference. The federal Energy Policy Act requires all states to certify that their commercial building energy code meets the requirements in Standard 90.1-2004 or in equivalent language such as the 2009 IECC.

The bill 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.

Advisory Statement: ICC Code Development Process Changes

The International Code Council Board of Directors has revised the Code Development Process after several years of input from membership and industry. This new plan is available for review on Highlights of the plan include:

  • Maintaining the 3-year publication cycle
  • Maintaining the ICC Governmental Consensus Process
  • Dividing the codes into two groupings, with each grouping having Code Development and Final Action Hearings occurring in the spring and fall of the same year during the first two years of the publication cycle
  • Unveiling all the new codes at the annual conference in the third year
  • Holding Code Development Hearings at the same central location every April/May
  • Holding all Final Action Hearings at the annual conference at locations that will continue to rotate through the four quadrants of the United States in late October/early November.