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The state of Pennsylvania has updated its building codes for commercial and residential construction to the 2015 model International Energy Conservation Code, while also incorporating some elements of the 2018 code.

Before last week, Pennsylvania’s energy code had not been updated since 2009, notes NRDC blogger Lauren Urbanek. The 2015 model residential energy code is about 25 percent more efficient than the 2009 code, which means that over a 30 year period, the energy bills in a home built to the 2015 code in Pennsylvania will be more than $8,100 lower than in a home built to the 2009 code.

Here, Urbanek details the changes coming to Pennsylvania builders:

New homes in Pennsylvania will need to have more insulation than ever before, which will keep occupants warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Homes will be required to have tighter ductwork, better windows, and more efficient lighting than the 2009 code, all of which adds up to lower utility bills and more comfort. The code also adds additional flexibility for builders by including the Energy Rating Index (ERI) compliance path.

The ERI is a measure of the home’s efficiency on a 0 to 100 scale where 0 is equivalent to a net-zero energy home (meaning its annual energy use is offset by things like energy efficiency and solar energy) and 100 is equivalent a home compliant with the 2006 version of the IECC. Homebuilders choosing this path to show they meet the energy code would have to meet or exceed a specific ERI score, in addition to meeting minimum envelope requirements and other mandatory measures, such as insulating hot water pipes.

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