July 28, 2011–The International Code Council today released the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), which includes efficiency improvements of up to 30% over conventional commercial building practices. The IECC is updated every three years and serves as a model for jurisdictions to use as a starting point for local code development. The 2012 version represents the largest single-step efficiency increase in the history of the IECC. Even though the efficiency gains in the new version of the model energy code are large, the 2012 IECC upgrades to equipment specifications and design strategies relating to building envelope, heating and cooling, lighting, quality assurance and renewable energy are readily available and affordable in the marketplace. “We know buildings that meet the new IECC are affordable and achievable because New Buildings Institute (NBI) has been working with utility and state efficiency programs to promote the creation of buildings designed on these same principles,” explained Dave Hewitt, NBI executive director. The 2012 IECC is largely based on NBI’s Core Performance® Guide, a direct approach to achieving energy savings in commercial buildings. Core Performance is a prescriptive alternative for LEED points and is part of energy efficiency programs across New England, eastern Canada and in Oregon. NBI estimates over 100 buildings around the country have been designed and built using Core Performance since 2008. “Increasing the efficiency of commercial energy codes provides the best opportunity to bring about significant savings and helps move our nation along the path toward low-energy buildings,” said Hewitt. “We’re thrilled that Core Performance contributed to the development of this new code version and offers design teams a running start on applying it,” he said. The energy savings in the 2012 IECC meet national calls from Congress, the Secretary of Energy and industry leaders to improve the efficiency of commercial buildings by 30 percent. Jurisdictions that aren’t ready to adopt the 2012 IECC as a base code, may consider making the standard a voluntary stretch code. Massachusetts offers such a code, also based on Core Performance, that cities can choose to adopt. Over 90 communities in the state follow the Massachusetts stretch code and local utilities offer incentives and technical assistance to commercial building owners and design teams that apply it.
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