Local Adoption Process
Adopting a new code is always a time consuming process but following a few simple guidelines like keeping your stakeholders well informed and understanding the costs and benefits of the new code will make it easier. To learn more about the adoption process, see sample ordinances and amendments go here.
The local adoption of energy codes, and all building codes, makes it challenging for the industry to stay informed when changes occur, so it is up to the jurisdiction to provide transparent and clear information to enable compliance. SPEER has compiled publicly available information about local code adoption, and will continue to update this resource for stakeholders. We have not studied, recorded, or attempted to analyze the various amendments to the energy code that exist in local jurisdictions, which create a patchwork of practices across the state. To find your city and code go to our Adoption by City table.
Benefits of New Energy Codes
Supporting increased adoption and enforcement of energy codes will greatly increase efficiency in new buildings, lowering a homeowner’s energy costs significantly enough to create positive cash flow for homeowners from day one, and reap the benefits of the savings for the life of the building. Both residential and commercial buildings can significantly reduce the peak demand for power, which reduces energy costs to the entire state, and reduces the need for additional power plants to be built. See Costs and Benefits of Adopting the 2015 Energy Code.
Insurance Services Office Rating
Insurance Services Office (ISO) reviews city practices so that they can develop an insurance classification rating that reflects the safety and durability of the buildings in the event of flood or other natural disaster. This rating is based on having certified inspectors, regular training, adequate staffing to handle their local building demand, and the adoption and enforcement of current building codes, including energy codes. If the building code adopted by a city is more than five years older than the latest edition published (2009 and earlier codes), the city will begin to lose points in their score, increasing as time goes on. Conversely, the adoption of the 2015 building codes and energy codes awards the maximum number of points in that category.
ISO published its Building Codes Assessment Report for 2015. This report contains valuable information about the state of building code adoption in Texas and the impact of delayed code adoption and lax code enforcement on hazard insurance rates.
Third Party Participation
The 2015 Energy Code requires performance testing to be performed on every home by a Third Party, including a blower door to evaluate envelope tightness and a duct blaster to evaluate duct leakage. These results should be provided to the inspector or code official as required. If the home does not meet the required tightness, the certified person performing the test may be able to assist the builder in making the necessary improvement.
Texas also allows third-party or private sector enforcement of building codes, which may be a cost-effective option to either increase capacity of the city’s staff for one or all of the inspections. Cities will typically have the plan review and field inspection as part of the same program, to ensure that the building conforms to the plan. Cities may develop or approve a qualified pool of inspectors that the builder may choose from, or assign an inspector on a rotational basis. Further, the city should also monitor and verify inspector conformance by conducting random performance audits of inspectors. Third-party inspectors who are engaged in the enforcement of energy codes are also required to have ICC Certification.
- Best Practice-Third Party Energy Code Compliance Verification
- Third Party Energy Inspector registration
- Energy Code – Third Party Final Compliance Verification
Training and Resources
Training and education about energy codes for code officials, builders, contractors and designers will make the transition to the new code easier and less stressful for everyone. SPEER offers webinars, in-person trainings, videos and various other resources from groups like the Air Conditioning Contractors of America that will help all those involved in the industry understand what’s in the code and how to comply with it. To visit our ever growing list of trainings and resources go to our Resources page.