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Next Steps for the IECC

Last Thursday the International Code Council Board of Directors met to hear verbal testimony from members and stakeholders in regard to potentially transitioning the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) from a code development process to a standards development process. The Code Council develops both consensus model codes and standards depending on the nature and need of the subject. Thank you to all those who took the time to share valuable feedback, both written and verbal. The board is reviewing all the commentary and will meet again in a few weeks to continue deliberations. No decision has been made yet.

Due to the extensive interest in this topic, we’d like to share some additional information about the Code Council's role in supporting energy efficiency through codes and standards.

  • For over three decades, the Code Council has developed an energy code that has reduced the impact of energy use on our planet and saved consumers billions of dollars on their energy bills. From 2006 to 2021, the IECC increased its efficiency requirements by about 40%, or an average of 8% a cycle.
  • In addition to the IECC, the Code Council develops the International Green Construction Code (powered by ASHRAE standard 189.1) and the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard, which provide additional requirements for communities looking to create more sustainable, resilient and high-performance buildings.
  • The proposed framework for transitioning to a standards development process put forth by the Code Council board is the result of input from many parts of the building safety industry. The idea originated from the Appeals Board and the Board Committee on the Long Term Code Development Process (Blue Ribbon Committee), which included a diverse array of building safety professionals. The intent of the proposal is to strengthen the IECC and its adoptability.
  • Even with the consistent progress of the IECC, many stakeholders, including code officials, have expressed concern about the IECC development process and the outcomes over the past decade.
    The Code Council's overarching goal for the IECC and every code it develops is to see it adopted, regularly updated and properly enforced which, in the IECC’s case, is critical in order for communities to fully benefit from the energy efficiency gains the code outlines.
  • Governmental decision makers balance multiple, often competing, interests in adopting building codes, including safety, efficiency, cost effectiveness and affordability. The Code Council’s consensus process strives to achieve this balance. In doing so, we are mindful of the importance of efficiency gains to achieve climate goals and the importance of housing affordability.
  • The Code Council works with many organizations and interests. We appoint qualified representatives of the industries that use and rely on the codes, such as representatives of industry trade associations, structural engineers, members of the fire service, architects and others, to some of our code development committees. Representatives from these industries go through the same application, review and approval process as all others who apply or are nominated for committee seats.
  • All interests have a voice and many opportunities to participate in the codes and standards development processes.

The discussion over the IECC’s development has also prompted interest from the U.S. Congress. Last Wednesday, the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce contacted the Code Council to request information about its code development process and the IECC. The letter recognizes that the “IECC is an important element of national energy policy and a major tool in our efforts to address climate change.” The Code Council appreciates the Committee’s interest and welcomes the opportunity to engage policymakers at all levels of government on the importance of adopting and effectively implementing up-to-date building codes.

As the Committee acknowledged, codes and standards play an important role in advancing energy efficiency and responding to a changing climate. In his first days in office, President Biden has made it clear that the new U.S. administration will prioritize tackling the climate crisis with building energy codes as an important component of that work. The Code Council is committed to helping our communities advance energy efficiency, and we look forward to working closely with Congress and the new administration.

Thank you again to everyone who has contributed to our process thus far. We continue to welcome all feedback. If you have additional questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to memberinput@iccsafe.org.