IMT Launches Residential Energy Code Field Study in Alabama

December 4, 2014 | Chris Potter

Today, the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) launched a new project in Alabama to help optimize energy use in newly-constructed homes across the state. Alabama was selected as one of eight states to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to conduct an energy code field study of new residential construction, as well as provide no-cost resources, education, technical assistance, and training on building energy codes.

IMT will conduct the project in partnership with the Institute for Building Technology and Safety, the Britt/Makela Group, and the Alabama Center for Excellence in Clean Energy Technology at Calhoun Community College. The partnering organizations will work closely with local stakeholders including the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, the Homebuilders Association of Alabama, the Code Officials Association of Alabama, Alabama Power, and the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance, among others, to understand how Alabama’s energy code impacts single-family residential construction and will address the barriers to compliance faced by builders, trades, and code officials.

In Alabama, homes make up about 18 percent of total energy consumption (even higher than commercial buildings at 13 percent). According to the Energy Information Administration the average residential electricity bill is $135 per month, ranking the state as the second highest in the nation (behind Hawaii). High electricity bills mean that homeowners are paying increasingly more of their income for utilities. Helping to improve compliance with Alabama’s statewide energy code, which took effect on October 1, 2012, can reduce energy costs, create a level playing field for all builders, and boost local economies.

“Providing no-cost training, education, and technical assistance on the Alabama residential energy code presents significant opportunities to not only improve the efficiency of new homes, but also to ensure that homebuyers have affordable energy bills,” said IMT Executive Director Cliff Majersik. “Our research has shown that for every dollar spent on boosting building energy code compliance rates yields $6 in energy savings, and the projected national savings of bringing just one year’s worth of new residential and commercial construction up to full code compliance could reap up to $189 million in annual energy cost savings.”

IMT received a grant of $656,000 as part of a larger, $6-million grant distribution from the DOE to study the implementation of residential energy codes. In addition to the DOE funding, IMT and its project partners will contribute more than $160,000 in cost share. IMT congratulates the other DOE grant recipients: the National Association of State Energy Officials, Maryland Energy Administration, Appalachian State University, Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, Performance Systems Development, and Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance.

To find out more about the project, visit www.alenergycode.org.

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