This paper was published as part of the 2022 ACEEE Summer Study conference.
Leading jurisdictions are seeking to address climate and decarbonization goals on two policy fronts: energy codes and building performance standards (BPS). The combination seems like a perfect match, with one addressing new construction and one addressing the existing building stocks. However, this approach overlooks a key factor: newly constructed buildings become existing buildings the moment the first occupant arrives. New buildings may use less energy than existing buildings on average, but not every new building is a high performer. What happens when a new building is deemed code-compliant but fails to meet the BPS in the same jurisdiction? There is mounting evidence this could happen as early as the first compliance deadline in the U.S. in 2024. More widespread adoption of BPS means that governments, owners, designers, and builders need to understand and plan for the future performance targets. This will require both project teams and regulators to look at new construction as only the starting point of a building’s performance lifecycle – and ensure that decarbonization goals in the design of new buildings meet the performance obligations set by BPS.
This paper, “The New Challenge for New Construction:The Intersection of Energy Codes and Building Performance Standards” will explore how new construction codes in several sample jurisdictions compare to existing or proposed BPS thresholds and provide examples of where new construction code-level designs are falling short. Additionally, we will explore methods to bridge the gap between new and existing buildings, the potential and limitations of each method, and the need to bridge the gap between new and existing buildings, the potential and limitations of each method, and the need to shift industry thinking towards a holistic, performance lifecycle approach to buildings.
- Amy Boyce, Institute for Market Transformation
- Kim Cheslak, New Buildings Institute
- Jim Edelson, New Buildings Institute
For more on this topic, read Amy Boyce’s blog on aligning codes and BPS.