Progress and Setbacks for "30% Solution" at Minneapolis Code Hearing

Blog Post | November 12, 2008 - 7:00 pm

A campaign by energy efficiency advocates to accomplish a 30 percent energy efficiency improvement to the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) came to a head in September at the final action hearings of the International Code Council (ICC) in Minneapolis. The IECC is the national model energy code that is used by 44 states to set minimum energy efficiency requirements for residential and commercial new construction.

After a long and vigorous debate in the wee hours of the morning code officials cast their votes on the Energy Efficient Code Coalition's (EECC) comprehensive "30% Solution" code change proposal designated as EC‑14. The ICC's procedures required a supermajority of voting code officials to approve EC‑14; however, the voting came up a few votes short and the measure failed while getting the support of 64% of voting officials.

On the next day, the debate and voting on an additional 100+ efficiency measures continued with better results. Many of the EECC's other proposals were approved by the code officials. With these approved measures, the 2009 IECC will be about 15% more energy efficient than the 2006 IECC, and according to DOE, is the biggest single energy efficiency increase ever in the nation's model energy
code. The EECC has vowed to return to the ICC process in 2009 to pursue the additional savings needed to achieve the 30% improvement goal.

Energy efficiency measures approved in Minneapolis that contribute to these savings include:

  • increased insulation in basements, floors and walls
  • improved window efficiency
  • reductions in wasted energy from leaky heating and cooling ducts
  • reductions in  tradeoffs that fail to capture energy savings from efficient heating and cooling equipment
  •  high‑efficiency lighting for the first time in a national energy code
  •  and Improved air sealing within the building envelope

The EECC supporters include more than 30 organizations from government, labor, broad-based energy efficiency groups, regional energy efficiency alliances, academia and think tanks, affordable housing advocates, architects, business organizations, energy consumers, environmental groups, new energy-efficient home building advocates and electric utilities. More than 18 representatives of these groups testified at the Minneapolis hearings in favor of the 30% Solution. ACEEE staff helped lead the campaign.