Energy Codes save homeowners and renters money on their utility bills. The energy savings from new codes more than offset the additional costs of more efficient homes.
Costs and Savings 2015 IECC Compared to the 2009 IECC
Source: National Cost Effectiveness of the Residential Provisions of the 2015 IECC, June 2015, PNNL.
1. 30 year life cycle savings including costs for equipment replacement.
2. Annual Energy savings minus increase in mortgage payments
More efficient buildings reduce the need for electric utilities to build new power plants and transmission and distribution lines and for gas utilities to build more pipelines. This will help slow the increase in utility rates for all customers. This translates to more discretionary income citizens will have to spend on locally produced and sold products and services, creating a positive feedback loop of local spending that increases the well being of the entire community.
Adopting up to date energy codes has many other benefits to homeowners and the communities they live in. Current energy codes place an emphasis on tight construction and managing ventilation, both natural ventilation and mechanical ventilation, and avoiding infiltration. Managing ventilation has positive impacts on indoor air quality by ensuring that the outside air that enters the home isn’t contaminated with dust and mold spores that collect in the gaps in walls, floors and attics or with fumes from gasoline or other products that may be stored in garages. Properly managed ventilation also controls humidity levels in homes, making them healthier and more durable by avoiding mildew, mold and rot from excessive moisture. Properly managing ventilation positively affects the health and comfort of the occupants and the durability of the home or building itself.
Well enforced, up to date energy codes will also reduce green house gas and other harmful emissions from electric and natural gas use. The US EPA calculates that residential and commercial buildings are responsible for 34% of green house gas emissions in the US as well as mercury, sulfur dioxide (SO2,) nitrous oxides( N2O) and particulates. Exposure to mercury and particulates cause major health problems and increase health care costs to communities. Green house gases, sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides are all considered serious pollutants that can have various impacts ranging from increased ground level ozone to global warming.
Cities with a better score provides residents with savings on insurance premiums.
The Insurance Services Office provides insurance risk analyses to the insurance industry. One of the evaluations performed by ISO is the Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BECGS). The BECGS assesses the currency of a city’s building codes, the length and relevance of building code employees’ experience, whether the staff is certified by a national code organization and the number of continuing education units (CEUs) the staff received in the evaluation period. Based on this assessment, a city’s insurance risk rating may rise or fall, affecting hazard insurance rates for any buildings built in the city. Adoption and enforcement of current codes will help a city maintain a good ISO rating and keep insurance rates low for its citizens.