In 2014, American residential and commercial buildings consumed 40 quadrillion British thermal units (BTUs), accounting for about 41 percent of all energy consumption in the nation. That’s a lot of energy, but buildings are becoming more efficient than they used to be.
International Energy Conservation Codes (IECC) were updated in 2012 and again this year, boosting new home efficiency by 38 percent and commercial building efficiency by 28 percent. To more easily understand these benefits, the Alliance to Save Energy and the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition released an energy calculator on May 12.
Available for free at energyefficientcodes.com, the organization’s Clean Power Plan Energy Code Emissions Calculator is a Microsoft Excel file that provides guidance on how building energy codes can contribute to the evolving energy landscape, and gives users data visualizations to help understand their potential savings.
“Talk about your ‘easy button’,” said Kateri Callahan, president of Alliance to Save Energy. “Our calculator makes it simple for state air quality agencies to determine the carbon emission reductions that will be achieved by the adoption and enforcement of the most recent model energy codes, which boost the efficiency of new homes and commercial buildings to historic levels.”
In June 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a carbon reduction plan, called the Clean Power Plan, that sets new guidelines for energy efficiency that are expected to cut carbon pollution by 30 percent when compared to 2005 levels, along with health benefits totaling in the tens of billions of dollars.
“Because energy savings from stronger building energy codes put thousands in the wallets of home and commercial building owners, and improve building quality, comfort, and resale value, state officials should be adopting them simply to benefit their residents,” said William Fay, executive director of the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition.