In 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a FOA (Funding Opportunity Announcement) to conduct residential energy code field studies using a radically different methodology from previous studies. Historically, studies defined and measured “compliance” as the portion of all code requirements being met on a house-by-house basis. Compliance was assumed to be a surrogate for energy, but that connection was never empirically established. Low compliance rates reported by many past studies resulted in the widespread belief that large potential energy savings were available from improving code compliance.
DOE’s new methodology focuses directly on energy impacts. A preliminary analysis identified key code requirements accounting for a large majority of the energy used in the new single-family homes which comprised the study population. State-level sampling plans ensured statistically representative samples of each of these requirements were obtained.
For each state, energy use intensities (EUI’s) were calculated for a home just meeting the state prescriptive code requirements and compared to an EUI representing the collected field data. Results suggest that, on average, energy codes deliver most or all expected energy savings for the code adopted in a given state, overall—the opposite of conventional wisdom. At the same time, many sampled homes failed to meet at least one key code requirement, and many of the non-key requirements were not met. Also, the adopted code varied by state so there is clearly more energy savings potential available from adopting new codes. This rich new data set will drive important discussions on the value and role of energy codes.
All Rights Reserved
2016 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings
Research on the energy efficiency of the different components of buildings – their shell, built-in appliances, plug-in appliances, floor size and floor plan, as well as position on site – all have contributions to make to amount of energy consumed. When combined with renewable...Read more
Industry misconceptions around high cost and poor market interest in energy efficient homes continue to obstruct the mass adoption of low carbon housing. Josh’s House demonstrates that low carbon housing is accessible and cost effective. The Star Performers series showcases how...Read more
Pilots are powerful for two reasons: 1. They are a great way to bring together groups of people to demonstrate how effective collective action can be in helping to change the status quo. More voices, more influence. Pilots, backed by evidence and research, can highlight and expose the challenges and blockages, particularly in government, far more effectively than any individual can (despite many individuals trying!). They also provide perfect opportunities for identifying solutions. And, 2. pilots provide the numbers and the evidence that decision-makers need, in order to believe and make change.Read more
The energy benefits of increased code compliance have generally been viewed through the lens of energy savings – kWh and therms. Peak demand reduction as an additional benefit of increased code compliance is a comparatively unexplored area – despite a general acknowledgement that there are electric demand savings (kW) associated with increased energy code compliance.
In 2013, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released a study of the nation’s largest multifamily home markets and the customer-funded utility energy efficiency programs that serve them. Using a combination of housing, utility, and policy data, ACEEE analyzed the potential to create or expand these programs in metropolitan markets.
Improvements in building energy codes cannot be fully realized unless targeted stakeholder education, training and outreach is provided to support increased understanding of and compliance with the minimum requirements.
While government policies aim to increase residential energy efficiency, policymakers know little about the efficiency of the U.S. housing stock and improvements in efficiency over time. This paper estimates the average space heating efficiency of U.S.