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    Better Energy Codes Now

    by Dave Hewitt and Jessyca Henderson

    Dave Hewitt, with the New Buildings Institute, and Jessyca Henderson, AIA, with the American Institute of Architects, present this joint viewpoint on an immediate opportunity to help improve the energy performance of new commercial buildings in the U.S. —Editor

    With today's conspicuous promotion of green building and sustainability, it is easy to forget that the bulk of commercial building design does exactly what it has always done: meet the local building energy code. While the resulting buildings are more energy efficient than if there were no code at all, they're far from the best we can do.

    The potential collapse of any Congressional action to reduce energy consumption as part of climate change or energy legislation means the immediate opportunity for improving building efficiency standards falls into different hands: state and local building code officials.

    These are the people who work every day to establish and enforce the rules on how we design and build buildings and their influence is far greater than most people know.

    At the end of October, these local government representatives will gather in Charlotte, North Carolina, to vote on changes to the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), a national model for energy codes that is available for adoption by local jurisdictions across the country.

    New Buildings Institute (NBI), the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the U.S. Department of Energy have partnered on a comprehensive proposal for the commercial chapter of the IECC (EC 147) that will be considered at the Charlotte conference.   >>>

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    The green roof atop the EPA Region 8 Headquarters building helps to reduce building heat gain, reducing energy use for cooling.
    Photo: Courtesy EPA Extra Large Image

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    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 8 Headquarters in Denver, Colorado, is estimated by the Energy Star program to achieve energy savings of 52 percent compared to an average building of a similar type.
    Photo: Robert Canfield/ Courtesy ZGF Extra Large Image

     

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