Attributing Building Energy Code Savings to Energy Efficiency Programs
Building energy-efficiency codes have received considerable attention lately because of the energy-savings opportunities they present for utilities and other program administrators (PAs). A recent report estimates that upgrades to building energy codes could offset as much as a third of all electricity consumption growth nationally through 2025.
PAs are in a strong position to support and influence markets: they typically run programs that operate in the new construction arena and they have knowledgeable staff and resources. If they support energy code efforts, however, PAs’ resources are diverted from other energy-efficiency opportunities and the possibility arises that savings from traditional energy-efficiency programs will be reduced as codes increase energy-efficiency baselines.
By providing PAs with an incentive to support energy codes, their focus can move away from concerns about savings erosion due to codes increasing baselines and towards a productive engagement with code officials, builders, developers, contractors, architects, and the market. By receiving credit for energy savings, PA efforts become directed towards positively impacting code adoption and maximizing compliance.