Workshopping the Buzz Around Energy Codes

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The MEEA Building Codes & Policy team hosted the workshop, "To Infinity and Beyond: Workshopping the Buzz about Energy Codes” at the 2024 Midwest Energy Solutions Conference. In the planning of this workshop, it was important that the expanding list of benefits that come with advancing energy codes – occupant health, grid impacts, carbon reduction and utility bill savings, to name a few, were a focus of the conversation. It was also important to discuss the challenges faced by states and jurisdictions when adopting energy codes. This includes accessing technical assistance resources, gaining utility program support, engaging with rural as well as urban communities and tracking compliance and enforcement. As building codes are becoming more of a focus in our industry, this workshop was an opportunity for attendees to learn how to advance energy codes by working through an exercise about the benefits and challenges in advancing building codes.

The focus of the workshop was the importance of energy codes built upon stakeholder perspectives and initiatives to tackle common challenges faced when trying to implement, track and update building energy codes. MEEA staff gave a brief overview on the impacts of building energy codes in the Midwest and provided updates on Midwest states and municipalities adopting Residential and Commercial Building Energy Codes. Facilitators Eric Fowler (Fresh Energy), Ross Igoe (ICF), Jeannette LeZaks (Slipstream) and Erin Beddingfield (DOE), along with participation from attendees, provided multiple viewpoints on the advancement of energy codes, including what challenges they are seeing in their own work. After level-setting presentations from the facilitators, attendees in groups worked through challenges based on the previously mentioned hurdles in adopting and complying with building energy codes. Groups shared highlights from their discussions and important lessons learned:

  • The importance of regulatory alignment & support needed for utilities to participate in energy code adoption, and how that can be achieved through market education efforts/incentives
  • The need for more opportunities to collaborate with home builder associations, specifically in rural communities
  • Utilizing energy modeling tools to showcase long-term benefits and cost-effective analyses of energy code adoption

Attendees left the workshop with new ideas on how to advance building energy codes adoption and compliance in their own work. If you are interested in learning more about energy codes, visit our Building Energy Code page or contact a member of our Building Codes & Policy team here at MEEA.