The Role of Building Energy Codes in the Clean Power Plan

White Paper


Sara Hayes, Lowell Ungar, Garrett Herndon


In this paper we provide further support of our comment already submitted to the record, focusing on two aspects of the provision in order to determine whether building energy codes should be considered in setting the standards of performance. The first aspect we focus on is what it means for a control measure to be part of the “best” system of emission reduction (BSER). The second aspect is whether a control measure has been “adequately demonstrated.”

We begin by identifying the elements or “test” that must be met in order for a control measure to qualify as both “best” and “adequately demonstrated.” We then apply these tests to building energy codes. This exercise leads us to two key findings: (1) The adoption and implementation of building energy codes is a “best” measure that is technically feasible, is cost effective, brings energy and emissions benefits, and promotes emission-reducing technologies. (2) The adoption and implementation of building energy codes is an “adequately demonstrated” control measure that is well established in the states, consistent with current trends, and can be relied on to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.