The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Building Energy Codes Program (BECP) periodically evaluates national and state-level impacts associated with energy codes in residential and commercial buildings. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), funded by DOE, conducted an assessment of the prospective impacts of national model building energy codes from 2010 through 2040. A previous PNNL study evaluated the impact of the Building Energy Codes Program; this study looked more broadly at overall code impacts. This report describes the methodology used for the assessment and presents the impacts in terms of energy savings, consumer cost savings, and reduced CO2 emissions at the state level and at aggregated levels. This analysis does not represent all potential savings from energy codes in the U.S. because it excludes several states which have codes which are fundamentally different from the national model energy codes or which do not have state-wide codes.
The result is that energy codes follow a three-phase cycle that starts with the development of a new model code, proceeds with the adoption of the new code by states and local jurisdictions, and finishes when buildings comply with the code. The development of new model code editions creates the potential for increased energy savings. After a new model code is adopted, potential savings are realized in the field when new buildings (or additions and alterations) are constructed to comply with the new code. Delayed adoption of a model code and in complete compliance with the code’s requirements erode potential savings. The contributions of all three phases are crucial to the overall impact of codes and are considered in this assessment.