Building Energy Codes: Creating Safe, Resilient, and Energy-Efficient Homes
Building energy codes establish minimum requirements for the elements within a building that impact energy consumption. The obvious benefit of buying a new home built in compliance with current energy codes is the energy cost savings for the homeowner. However, there are other significant benefits that come with the purchase of a home built in compliance with current building energy codes.
Some of these benefits include:
- Increasing durability of the building envelope, thus creating better indoor air quality and assisting the builder in complying with health and life safety codes.
- Preventing air leaks that could potentially bring contaminants and pollutants that are stored outside of the conditioned space into the home—this could help prevent financial and health issues that can be associated with these problems.
- Preventing potential moisture, mold, and rot problems via complying with air sealing requirements in the energy code.
- Saving energy and reducing water use in the house via hot water piping insulation.
- Increasing the comfort and safety of the home's occupants.
Complying with energy codes has lasting positive impacts for building occupants, and provisions within the energy code touch most aspects of residential construction. As with any code, workmanship and attention to detail are necessary to ensure that efficiency features are installed properly to receive the true benefit of code requirements. This paper addresses the non-energy benefits of energy codes and provide case studies where non-compliance with energy code requirements led to construction defects.