At the recent International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) hearings held in Albuquerque, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Architecture 2030’s ZERO Code Renewable Energy Appendix was approved by the Commercial IECC Committee.
The ZERO Code Renewable Energy Appendix, if approved by the IECC voting members this fall, will permit local jurisdictions to adopt mandatory provisions to meet or exceed the efficiency standards of the IECC and achieve zero-net-carbon emissions annually. It encourages on-site renewable energy systems when feasible, but also supports the use of off-site renewable energy.
More than 270 cities and counties and 10 states in the U.S. are signatories to the “We Are Still In” commitment supporting climate action to meet the goals of the Paris climate accord. The 2021 IECC ZERO Code Renewable Energy Appendix provides these communities with a powerful tool and a consistent policy approach to meet their carbon reduction targets. Architects, manufacturers, builders, designers and others in the building industry will all be operating from the same playbook, as opposed to relying on a patchwork of complicated custom approaches that might otherwise emerge.
Approval of the ZERO Code Renewable Energy Appendix will:
accommodate sophisticated user-friendly code compliance tools and software such as COMcheck, EnergyPlus, PVWatts, and a multitude of private-sector energy performance programs;
provide a renewable energy default table and convenient renewable energy calculator, for all locations, that estimates the renewable energy requirement, potential on-site renewable energy production, and off-site renewable energy procurement needed to achieve zero-net-carbon;
recognize off-site renewable energy options that result in renewable energy generation that exceeds what utilities are already required to provide by their mandated renewable portfolio standards; and
eliminate tradeoffs of energy efficiency for renewable energy, since all buildings must comply with the provisions of the 2021 IECC as part of complying with the appendix.
We cannot be content with incremental energy efficiency steps in our national and international codes at this critical time – zero carbon emissions must be at the center of both. The natural systems on which we all depend are deteriorating rapidly; we have a moral and ethical responsibility to act.
The IECC committee’s first-round approval of the ZERO Code Renewable Energy Appendix (CE264-19) is a major step toward integrating it into the 2021 IECC. Final proposals will be formally included in the IECC by a vote of the membership in November.