International Energy Conservation Code Slated for More Input by Government Officials

The International Code Council (ICC) released a new framework in March 2021 changing the means by which it updates the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) from government consensus to an American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-approved standards process. Adopted by ICC’s board and couched as a means for helping governments and building industry stakeholders to meet goals for energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reductions, the new framework will “allow for more in-depth scientific and economic deliberations,” ICC officials said.

The move has elicited mixed reactions from industry associations so far. Kathy Krafka Harkema, U.S. codes and regulatory affairs manager for the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance, explained how it would impact the glass industry.

“The ICC’s move to transition the IECC from a code development to a standards development process is designed to strengthen the potential for adoption and ultimate impact of the IECC. By positioning it as part of ICC’s new framework to address energy efficiency and sustainability, it’s another tool for jurisdictions to consider for adoption to achieve their local goals,” she said. “The new framework gives jurisdictions considering IECC code adoption options for ways to reduce energy use or greenhouse gas emissions through model code language, while considering ways to make buildings more energy efficient in their design and construction.”

“ICC’s new framework for addressing energy efficiency and sustainability will help provide options for jurisdictions interested in achieving net zero energy buildings by 2030. Plus, the formation of ICC’s new Energy and Carbon Advisory Council will provide a forum for people with those particular interests to help inform ICC’s future considerations,” added Krafka Harkema.

As leading factors for the new format, ICC officials point to growing concerns over climate change. “We have heard clearly feedback from the building safety community asking us to strengthen the IECC and create new resources to help communities address their climate goals,” said Dominic Sims, the council’s CEO.

Dubbed “Leading the Way to Energy Efficiency: A Path Forward on Energy and Sustainability,” the new framework was established by ICC’s peer-elected board of directors, including 18 government code officials, establishing an Energy and Carbon Advisory Council to advise ICC on which policies to integrate.

Going forward, numerous factors remain the same, ICC officials pointed out, including the fact that anyone can submit proposed changes, comment on proposed changes and participate in committee hearings. Regardless of the new framework, ultimately governments continue to have the final say on whether to adopt or amend model codes, ICC officials pointed out.

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