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Ohio Adopts New Commercial Energy Code

MEEA Unplugged Blog - October 18, 2016 - 3:28pm

Credit: Fensterbme / Flickr

In January 2016, the Ohio Board of Building Standards (BBS) began discussing the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC)/ASHRAE Standard 90.1 2010 (ASHRAE 90.1-2010) for potential adoption as a means to regulate energy use in new (and majorly renovated) commercial buildings.

Nine months later, and after much discussion by state and local stakeholders, on Friday, September 30, the 2012 IECC/ASHRAE 90.1-2010 by reference was born (officially adopted by the Joint Committee of Administrative Rule Review (JCARR)). Although this new code has been formally adopted at the state level, this bundle of joy won’t make an appearance until January 1, 2017, the effective date set by JCARR and the BBS.

Energy & Cost Savings

In comparison to Ohio’s previous commercial energy code (2009 IECC/ASHRAE 90.1 2007 by reference), the adoption of the 2012 IECC/AHSRAE 90.1-2010 would improve the efficiency of buildings by over 18% based on the Department of Energy (DOE) Final Determination. Additionally, the incremental cost increase to construct a building to the new code is more than made up over the life of the building through annual energy cost savings, making it a cost-effective update.

According to a MEEA analysis, when accounting for the potential energy savings based on commercial construction starts in Ohio, buildings built to the recently adopted code in the state could contribute to over $9.5 million in energy cost savings and 470,000 MMBTU in energy savings per year. The amount of energy saved annually is equivalent to that of over 6,400 homes, which is almost half the number of single-family homes that were built in Ohio in 2015.

Additional Benefits

Not only will this code save energy and money for building owners, businesses and renters, but it also encompasses several non-energy benefits. With improved insulation, better windows and an improved and more finely-tuned mechanical and lighting system, building inhabitants will experience improved comfort, better lighting, and a healthier indoor working environment. Considering the average American spends 93% of their life indoors, and buildings account for 40% of all energy used in this country, a marked improvement in building performance through the adoption of this new energy code will have a lasting positive impact on residents in the State of Ohio.

Midwest States Gain the Most from Industrial EE

MEEA Unplugged Blog - October 7, 2016 - 2:07pm

Photo: ashley.adcox via Flickr / Creative Commons

Last month, the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency released a new report that ranks each U.S. state on their potential for industrial energy efficiency to reduce carbon emissions. The report, State Ranking of Potential Carbon Dioxide Emission Reductions through Industrial Energy Efficiency, identifies which states are best suited to help the industrial sector to cut carbon emissions, while saving money and making manufacturers more competitive.

Through nationwide investments in industrial efficiency, the U.S. can cut carbon emissions by a total of 174.5 million short tons in 2030, which, according to the report, is equal to the emissions from 46 coal-fired power plants. Additionally, such actions can save businesses $298 billion from avoided electricity purchases. This level of carbon emission reduction is nearly one-third of the national emission reductions called for under the Clean Power Plan.

Midwest Potential

The Midwest is particularly well-positioned to benefit from industrial energy efficiency improvements due to the region’s significant manufacturing sector. According to the report, five of the top ten states that would experience the greatest total carbon emission reductions are in the Midwest: Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan. By investing in industrial energy efficiency, including combined heat and power and waste-heat recovery, these five states could avoid nearly 45 million short tons of carbon emissions and save over 63 million MWh of energy annually.

The Alliance for Industrial Efficiency report is aimed at helping state policymakers, industrial companies, utilities and others seize opportunities for industrial energy efficiency that will result in significant cost savings and emission reductions.

New Resources

In addition to the full report, the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency has released a national factsheet and individual state factsheets for each of the top ten states.

MEEA has released its own industrial EE factsheet as well.

For questions about MEEA’s resources and activities related to industrial energy efficiency in the Midwest, contact Policy Associate Leah Scull at lscull@mwalliance.org.

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