Commercial Energy Code program explores the benefits of compliance
Research Insights share findings from CEE's energy efficiency research, drawing real-world links to help Minnesotans save energy and money, while lowering carbon emissions.
Proper energy codes help buildings use energy more effectively, reducing the harmful emissions caused by a building over the course of its life. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, building energy codes govern up to 80% of a building’s energy load, and are an important part of regulating energy use.
Model codes also provide opportunities for builders to incorporate efficiency into the design of a structure, rather than waiting until after it’s been built — adding energy saving features after construction is more expensive. In addition, code-compliant buildings often have big savings potential for consumers. In the U.S. alone, residential and commercial buildings have the potential to achieve $126 billion in energy cost savings, and energy code compliant buildings use energy better:
- They’re more comfortable — they hold heat and air better.
- They leave less of an environmental footprint (fewer harmful emissions; less energy consumption).
- They cost less to operate, which lowers energy bills and reduces power demand.
Russ Landry, P.E., senior mechanical engineer, says of the pilot, “With the growing complexity of energy codes in Minnesota, and the expertise needed to evaluate documentation of performance path projects, it seemed like a natural fit for utility CIP program resources to help ensure that the energy saving benefits of energy code compliance are fully realized.”
Even with all the benefits related to compliance, however, compliance enhancement programs haven’t had their effectiveness or costs tested in the state of Minnesota. To address this issue, CEE developed its Commercial Energy Code Support Program, as a way of helping Conservation Improvement Program designers and regulators understand some of the concerns associated with code-enhancement programs.
Researchers collaborated with design teams in three partner cities to examine the energy code issues of commercial buildings; giving special attention to high-impact code requirements that are usually missed or overlooked. Recently, the team finished compiling results from the pilot, and completed a final report detailing its findings
Commercial Energy Codes Support Program
Pilot Program with Two Focused Approaches to Enhance Energy Code Compliance