Conventional buildings are, for the most part, built to code, while green buildings exceed code efficiency requirements. But in a recent, game-changing move, building officials from across the nation voted to adopt model building codes for 2012 homes and commercial buildings that will result in green conventional buildings, so to speak, 30 percent more efficient than conventional buildings built today [PDF].
The Institute for Market Transformation (IMT), a Washington, DC-based nonprofit dedicated to improving the energy efficiency of buildings, worked with the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) to achieve this, with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Association of State Energy Officials, Congress and the broad-based Energy Efficient Codes Coalition (EECC)–all of which would like to see a 30 percent boost in the nation’s energy efficiency.
The 2012 code requirements are being touted as “an integrated, ‘whole building’ approach to greater efficiency in the construction of new homes and commercial buildings.” The new requirements will ensure that new homes are better sealed to reduce heating and cooling losses; improve the efficiency of windows and skylights, increase insulation in ceilings, walls, and foundations; reduce wasted energy from leaky heating and cooling ducts; improve hot-water distribution systems to reduce wasted energy and water in piping; and boost lighting efficiency.
Underscoring the importance of this decision, more than 60 governmental voting member representatives from the DC area traveled to North Carolina to take part in the hearings that decided the matter, leading EECC Executive Director William Fay to comment, “It is notable that the votes that will have the most profound impact on national energy and environmental policy this year weren’t held in Washington or a state capital, but by governmental officials assembled by the International Code Council in Charlotte, North Carolina.”
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