Ohio Adopts New Commercial Energy Code


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.