Nebraska poised to become Midwest building efficiency leader
Building energy codes will save home and business owners in the U.S. an estimated $126 billion through 2040, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The state of Nebraska is ready to update the state’s energy codes for residential and commercial buildings — from the 2009 to the 2018 edition — which will make the state a regional leader on building efficiency. Nebraska lawmakers presented LB 405 to Governor Pete Ricketts on May 2, 2019, which he signed into law (effective July 1, 2020). Shortly before, Governor Ricketts signed LB 348 into law (effective Sept. 7, 2019) which updates the International Building Code, International Residential Code and International Existing Building Code from the 2012 to the 2018 edition. (Local jurisdictions have up to a two-year period to adopt the current state code.)
These actions demonstrate the state’s ongoing commitment to building energy efficiency. The Nebraska Energy Office has a demonstrated history of supporting energy code implementation with a statewide codes collaborative, and extensive training and evaluation on their current code. Moving to the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) will further the opportunity to realize energy savings across the state.
The IECC is a building code created by the International Code Council in 2000, and is adopted by many states and municipal governments in the U.S. for the establishment of minimum design and construction requirements for energy efficiency. While code officials recognize the need for a modern, up-to-date energy conservation code addressing the design of energy-efficient building envelopes and installation of energy-efficient mechanical, lighting and power systems through requirements emphasizing performance, the IECC is designed to meet these needs through model code regulations that will result in the optimal utilization of fossil fuel and non-depletable resources in all communities, large and small.
The IECC establishes minimum regulations for energy-efficient buildings using prescriptive and performance-related provisions. It is founded on broad-based principles that make possible the use of new materials and new energy-efficient designs. While the update is expected to have major implications for new residential buildings, it is estimated that changes between the 2009 code (which Nebraska currently utilizes) and the 2012 version result in about a 25 percent energy improvement. Adoption of the most recent version of the IECC will give Nebraska an integrated family of codes; the IECC is specifically correlated to work with the Code Council’s family of codes.