DOE updates requirements for low-rise residential Federal buildings to 2015 IECC.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has published an update to the Energy Efficiency Standards for the Design and Construction of New Federal Low-Rise Residential Buildings to the International Code Council (ICC) 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The DOE issued the requirement as a final rule, basing its decision primarily on the DOE's determination of the cost-effectiveness of both the 2012 and 2015 IECC.

The revised DOE standards set out the baseline energy-efficiency performance requirements for newly constructed Federal low-rise residential buildings. When the standards go into effect on March 13, 2017, they will apply to all applicable buildings for which design work will begin at least one year after the standards were issued. Renovations or modifications to existing buildings are not covered by these standards.

The Energy Conservation and Protection Act, which was passed in 1976, requires the DOE to periodically determine whether the Federal standards for energy efficiency in new Federal buildings should be updated to reflect the latest standards and codes. Prior to this latest ruling, the DOE's energy efficiency standards were based on the 2009 IECC.

"The DOE's adoption of the 2015 IECC for new Federal low-rise residential construction demonstrates the federal government's continued preference for adopting codes and standards that have been developed in the private sector, thereby avoiding waste attempting to duplicate this work for unique government standards," said Code Council Chief Executive Officer Dominic Sims, CBO. "By adopting these standards, Federal agencies participate in a long-established tradition of standards development that continues to ensure that our nation's building codes provide the highest level of health, safety and comfort in the built environment."

Given that the regulation was issued within the last 90 days of the outgoing Obama Administration, there is a possibility that industry groups may ask that the DOE's determination may be reviewed or even rolled back.