Recognizing the variety of innovative solutions, and the ambitions of jurisdictions seeking greater energy efficiency, the International Code Council’s Energy Program hosted a landmark national roundtable to discuss the future of building energy efficiency and management. Roundtable participants included a diverse group of policy experts, representation from the major grids, cities and states with advanced policies, and other thought leaders in building energy efficiency.

The forum solicited dialogue and input from leaders and advocates on collective goals. The group addressed such questions as:

  • Where should we want to go as a nation with energy efficiency in buildings?
  • What are the challenges and resources available in reaching those goals?
  • Is there some level of collaboration in which we should be engaging that currently does not exist?

The group tackled these ponderous topics throughout the day in small groups and broad discussion. The clear theme that emerged was significant reduction in energy use and carbon impacts with a comprehensive approach, which includes affordability, durability, and occupant health. A reflective sample of goals:

  • By 2025 a national policy action on carbon in the building sector.
  • 72 percent of all buildings are designed to remain habitable/operable for 72 hours without power.
  • By 2030 new construction is net-zero ready, electric vehicle ready and grid interactive.
  • Existing buildings reduce energy use by 50 percent through benchmarking and transparency.
  • Implement a building energy policy that promotes health, comfort, affordability, reliability, safety and accessibility in building stock. Starting goal is 15 percent in 15 years.

The group also discussed challenges such as the interplay between efficiency, renewables, grid issues and energy storage; effective communication of the value of the goals to decision makers; the politicization of climate changes; and the importance of demonstrating these ideas in people’s everyday lives.

The day concluded with a broad consensus to establish a national collaborative with a carefully constructed charter consisting of a broad coalition of members that will meet quarterly and follow up on these issues — careful to not be redundant with other efforts, develop consensus on the goal and work collaboratively and collectively.

The Code Council has a long history of involvement in the energy field and was pleased to host this forum and the opportunity to expand its focus on energy use as it impacts the built environment. The Code Council will continue to engage with a wide variety of industry partners from across the building safety, construction and energy fields to further the conversation about energy efficiency and buildings. Its new ICC Energy Program will create a synergy across the ICC Family of Companies and partners, and lead new initiatives to address national needs and pursue new opportunities across the energy spectrum of the built environment.