It's hard to adopt a new building code, a new process or an innovative product when you haven't yet benefited from the experience. How will it impact your bottom line? How will it perform? In terms of better energy efficiency and performance, many have been trying new approaches, and the building code is updating fast. Here's how you can benefit.
Recently, the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP) released a paper, Construction Codes in the Northeast: Myths and Realities of Energy Code Adoption and its Economic Effects, that looks at some of the most common myths in the buildings codes world.
The report analyzed construction permit data from 2014-2017 and coupled it with data that projects the square footage of both new residential and commercial building stock for the next five years in order to create a complete picture of the economic development of the building sector and identify opportunities states have for energy savings and economic growth by implementing more robust energy efficiency codes.
The Myth: Opponents of updated energy codes state that it will be too costly for builders, contractors, and homebuyers if updated energy codes are adopted. This is due to the perceived extra work, complexities, and materials needed to build to a new code. This myth persists with lack of evidence just like the story of our fictional hairy friend from the Pacific Northwest. .
The Reality: Luckily, we have the facts, data, and information available to prove that updated energy codes do not halt construction starts, and can in fact show the opportunities for deep energy savings. Energy codes are the only building codes that pay for themselves through occupant energy savings. Construction permit data tells the story of economic development, trends in building types and sizes, as well as trends in geographic location of construction projects by county. Using this information, NEEP shows that there is no correlation between updated energy code adoption and slowed down construction. Instead, the opposite is true. This information is useful for states, local governments, and other policymakers to target geographic centers of development for new energy efficiency initiatives, energy codes, or code compliance training programs.