Building Standards Help Lincoln, NE Go Green

environmental action plan cover

On July 12, Lincoln Nebraska Mayor Chris Beutler released a draft environmental plan highlighting opportunities for the city and residents to meet their sustainability goals. Building on the city’s 2009 Cleaner Greener Lincoln Initiative, this new action plan outlines the city’s progress in five categories—Energy, Land Use, Transportation, Waste and Water – and recommends strategies to make Lincoln a leader in environmental stewardship.

Reducing Pollution & Saving Money with Energy Codes

One of the action strategies within the Energy chapter recommends “improving the energy efficiency of Lincoln’s new homes and buildings.” To achieve these efficiency improvements, the city indicated they will work with the homebuilding industry and other stakeholders to update their existing building energy codes and standards.

The City of Lincoln currently adheres to the statewide Nebraska Energy Conservation Code, based on the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code. However, according to a MEEA analysis referenced in the mayor’s plan, updating to the 2015 IECC could save Lincoln residents and businesses over $15 million and avoid over 140,000 tons of CO2 emissions over the next ten years (read MEEA's codes fact sheet for more info).

Although certain states with a statewide energy code prevent jurisdictions from adopting a more efficient code than the statewide model, Nebraska has no such limitation. Given that buildings account for over 40% of energy use in the U.S., Mayor Beutler understands the significant impact improved energy codes can have in meeting climate and sustainability goals. In addition to economic and environmental benefits, robust energy codes improve both indoor and outdoor air quality with controlled building ventilation and decreased pollution from power plants.

Stand Up for a Healthier Community

Now that the draft plan has been released, Mayor Beutler has requested feedback and new ideas from city residents and businesses. Here are two ways to make your voice heard:

In-Person Meeting
Wednesday, July 26, 5-7:30 p.m.
Gere Branch Library
 2400 S 56th St, Lincoln, NE 68506

Submit Comments Online
For those who can’t make the meeting, an online form is available to submit comments on the plan, which will be accepted until Monday, August 7.

If you have questions about MEEA’s analysis or how updated building energy codes can help your city meet their sustainability goals, please contact Ian Blanding, MEEA’s Senior Building Policy Associate, at 312-784-7269, or by email at