Stringency: Nebraska is a home-rule state, but its residential and commercial energy codes, referred to as the Nebraska Energy Code (NEC), are mandatory statewide. Residential buildings are required to comply with the 2009 IECC. Commercial buildings must also comply with the 2009 IECC with reference to ASHRAE 90.1 – 2007. Local jurisdictions can exceed the NEC; the three metro counties are at various preliminary stages of adopting the 2012 IECC, however none have yet adopted it officially. Nonetheless, 100% of new homes fall under the 2009 IECC as the NEC is the minimum standard. In May the Nebraska Association of Code Officials submitted legislation to adopt the 2012 IECC and has produced several documents in support of the new codes. It is unclear if the Legislature will move to adopt.
Compliance (2013 Survey Responses):
- Gap Analysis/Strategic Compliance Plan: Nebraska has completed a gap analysis produced by BCAP which is online at OCEAN: http://energycodesocean.org/resource/nebraska-gap-analysis-report. Nebraska has also completed a strategic compliance plan produced by BCAP which is online at OCEAN: http://energycodesocean.org/resource/nebraska-strategic-energy-codes-plan.
- Baseline & Updated Compliance Studies: The Energy Office completed a statistically valid evaluation of recently built homes for energy code compliance in 2012. One hundred homes in 18 counties (only 44 homes were needed for a statistically valid sample) were evaluated by a RESNET Certified Home Energy Rater. In aggregate, the state average of energy code compliance was 64.7 percent. The highest compliance score was 83.67 percent, the lowest was 42.55 percent. Regional compliance rates were also calculated. A summary of the compliance code evaluation is at http://www.neo.ne.gov/home_const/iecc/documents/EnergyCodeComplianceEvaluationStudy.pdf. The Energy Office is participating in a code compliance study being conducted by the Institute for Market Transformation by a former PNNL staff member. That study of approximately 40 Nebraska homes in the three metropolitan counties will be completed later this year. The study will also provide an assessment of the effectiveness of the localized, customized, one-on-one training being provided to codes staff members.
- Utility Involvement: The state’s three largest publicly-owned electric utilities – Lincoln Electric System, Nebraska Public Power District and Omaha Public Power District – have a long history of providing very strong support (financial and in-kind) for building energy code upgrades, training, and code compliance activities. In the most recent example, Omaha Public Power District provided $10,000 in support of the Great Plains Energy Codes Conference. In the past, all of the utilities have provided financing, conference facilities and other types of support.
- Stakeholder Advisory Group: Nebraska formed a Codes Compliance Collaborative in March 2013 with the assistance of BCAP/OCEAN and the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. There are approximately 35 active participants (code officials, homebuilders, state and local policymakers, utility representatives, architects and designers, HVAC professionals, home energy raters, educators, a lender, suppliers, advocacy groups, and a representative from a general contractors organization) who are working on the structure of the collaborative, tasks and missions and funding.
- Training/Outreach: The state is aggressively targeting codes officials, builders and other professions such as appraisers, property tax assessors and realtors with workshop opportunities. At least four distinct types of training/information opportunities for codes officials and others will be provided in 2013. To maximize code official participation, the agency is providing training workshops in conjunction with the codes officials’ association meetings. One session, blower doors and duct blasters, is designed to educate codes officials and staff on this equipment since blower door tests are an essential element of the 2012 IECC.
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