Energy Efficiency Policies and Practices in Wisconsin

Residential and Commercial Sectors

Residential and commercial buildings account for 40% of energy use in the country.  These buildings where we live and work are affected by policies that provide minimum construction standards that reduce energy waste, provide financing options to help pay for energy upgrades, promote advancing energy efficiency through high-performance buildings that go beyond minimum requirements and techniques for taking advantage of the latest technologies in energy monitoring and control, and that ensure that as buildings become tighter that the health and safety of occupants are maintained.

Building Energy Codes in Wisconsin

Code Level

Residential Energy Code

2009 IECC 

Wisconsin Uniform Dwelling Code, Section SPS 322

Commercial Energy Code

2009 IECC (equivalent state-specific code) (effective 9/1/2011)

Wisconsin Commercial Building Code, Section SPS 363


Authorized by Statute.  The commercial building energy code is authorized by Wisconsin Statutes 101.027. The residential energy code is authorized by Wisc Stat 101.62.

The Uniform Dwelling Code is found at SPS 320-325. The energy code portion is found in SPS 322. The Commercial Building Code is found at SPS 361-366, with the energy efficiency provisions found in SPS 363. Efficiency provisions for rental units are found in SPS 367.

Oversight – Previously under the Department of Commerce, as of 2012 all building codes oversight and regulation has been moved to the Department of Safety and Professional Services, along with renumbering of all regulations (e.g. the residential energy code was COMM 22, and is now SPS 322). 

Code change process – Regulatory and Legislative. The Office of Codes and Applications in the Department of Safety & Professional Services reviews, proposes, and approves code changes after a public comment process. Adopted code changes are then approved by legislative committee. As of amendments implemented in Wisconsin's 2011 fiscal budget, all code changes to the Universal Dwelling Code that would increase the cost of the home by more than $1000 are required to go through a full legislative process for approval (Wisc Stat 227.137(3)(f)).

Code change cycle – Energy codes in Wisconsin are changed on a three-year cycle for commercial buildings (Wisc Stat 101.027(3)(a)2) from whenever the previous code was submitted to the legislature, or whenever a new model code is released.


Enforcement SPS Chapters 363 and 367 (commercial and rental buildings) requirements may be changed by local governments or agencies by ordinance only if the alternatives are as stringent as those in the referenced code. SPS Chapter 322 requirements must be applied without local modification. Code inspections are performed by local code officials, and if the local jurisdiction does not have code enforcement then by the Department of Safety & Professional Services (for commercial buildings) or by an agency or delegate approved by the Department (for residential buildings). Enforcement powers lie with the Department of Safety & Professional Standards.

Implementation/Compliance Studies – The Building Code Assistance Project reports that Wisconsin is engaged in a DOE-sponsored study of its code compliance levels for commercial buildings and also using DOE grant money to increase their training of local code officials.

► Overview of building energy codes in the Midwest

Home Performance

In addition to building energy codes, states and utilities are often looking for ways to take buildings "beyond code" and achieve higher levels of energy savings. Home performance programs are becoming widespread in the region and offer a good best-practices example of a next step beyond baseline building energy code for states and utilities that are interested in achieving additional energy savings in residential buildings.

Summary of Home Peformance Programs in Wisconsin
  Administrator Program Audit Fee Maximum Customer Benefit
Illinois Focus on Energy Home Performance with Energy Star Market rates 33% of eligible measures, up to $1,500. Some measures qualify for $200-700 savings bonuses.

► Overview of home performance programs in the Midwest


Read the report that accompanies these pages:
Energy Efficiency Policies, Programs, and Practices in the Midwest:
A Resource Guide for Policymakers (2014 Edition)

►more information about the Resource Guide