Update 9/3/13: Environmental groups and home builders associations may have just reached an historic agreement on building codes, focusing on improving efficiency through a performance based measure (the Home Energy Rating System) instead of the prescriptive IECC codes. The upshot is a 20% improvement over the 2012 IECC code within two years by allowing builders to find their own strategies to meet the targets.
How efficient are buildings in your community?
That depends a lot on the building code, which states (and sometimes cities) can use to set minimum standards for energy efficiency. The U.S. DOE has a nice chart of which state has adopted which code, but the following chart is useful in understanding what that means from the standpoint of relative energy efficiency and energy savings. A third of states could save new homeowners anywhere from $150 to $1100 per year in energy costs by upgrading or implementing the most recent International Energy Conservation Code. In many cases, cities have the authority to set more ambitious codes than the state, a great way to use local authority to save residents and businesses money!
Look for more ways cities can use their local authority to keep more of their energy dollars local in a forthcoming report from ILSR’s Democratic Energy program!