DOE Promoting 2012 IECC

November 15, 2010

The U.S. Department of Energy has indicated it plans to promote swift adoption of the 2012 edition of the International Energy Conservation Code, saying it makes "historic strides" for increased energy efficiency in residential and commercial building. Approved by the International Code Council at the end of October, the 2012 IECC is expected to meet DOE's goal of achieving 30 percent energy savings compared to the 2006 edition of the code.

Once the 2012 IECC is published in early 2011, DOE will undertake a formal rulemaking determination for energy efficiency over the 2009 codes, according to a progress report issued by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. "The results will be published in the Federal Register. If the analysis shows that the revised code is more energy efficient than its predecessor, then each state is required to certify that it has reviewed its residential building energy code regarding energy efficiency and made a decision as to whether it is appropriate for that state to revise its residential building code to meet or exceed the revised code," DOE states.

Until now, DOE has been pushing states to adopt the 2009 IECC, reports Julie Ruth, who serves as code consultant for the American Architectural Manufacturers Association. The DOE statement indicates that even for those states that have adopted the 2009 IECC, there is a good chance DOE will now try to encourage them to adopt the 2012 IECC, she continues. 

Once the 2012 IECC becomes available, it is quite likely that DOE will find it to be more efficient than the 2009 IECC, Ruth says.  Some parties have estimated that the 2009 IECC was 15-18 percent more efficient than the 2006 IECC and that the 2012 IECC will meet the DOE's goal of being 30 percent more efficient, at the very least, and possibly exceeding that target, she notes.

As reported last week, ICC not only approved a more stringent 2012 IECC, it also voted to remove energy efficiency provisions from the International Residential Code.  As of the 2012 editions, energy efficiency requirements for residential applications will now will solely be covered within the IECC, which will also continue to cover nonresidential construction as well.