The Future of Energy Codes

Demand for high performance green buildings has never been higher, in spite of—or maybe because of—the recession and the depressed real estate market. Businesses and consumers are looking to save money wherever possible while reducing their environmental impact, and green buildings provide that opportunity. Looking ahead, efficiency and renewable energy experts are excited to guide this movement towards its ultimate goal: net-zero energy buildings. Also known as zero emissions buildings, they are those that produce as much energy as they use. What are the implications of this movement for energy codes?

Energy codes have become more efficient in recent years, following developments in advanced building technology, materials, and practices. As the sector moves towards zero emissions, energy codes are in a position to bring the bottom of the market in line with the net-zero goal. Understanding where the market is headed provides advocates with an opportunity to steer energy code development in the right direction. 

Below are some strategies for moving forward. Please comment on how you think they will contribute to the future of building energy codes.

  • Shifting from prescriptive energy standards to performance tested buildings – to reward integrated design, which addresses energy performance goals.

  • Adopting comprehensive building energy labeling – to allow the real estate markets to properly value the lifecycle costs of energy-efficient buildings.

  • Developing programs and incentives to reduce energy consumption in existing buildings – new construction accounts for only one percent of the building stock each year.

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