Briefing paper

While governors across the United States are setting innovative energy policies, energy efficiency can help them go even farther toward meeting state goals. Saving energy creates jobs, develops the workforce, grows state economies, improves public health, promotes technological innovation, protects the environment, and saves taxpayers money. This toolkit lays out steps governors can take to increase energy efficiency in homes, businesses, and transportation. It includes foundational policies, current state practices, and many useful resources for policy and program development.

Specifically, mandatory building energy codes require a minimum level of energy efficiency for new residential and commercial buildings as well as specify aspects of health and safety. Building energy codes can help bring new technologies and design strategies to market and ensure more efficient and resilient construction
practices. New model codes are developed by ASHRAE and the International Code Council, with review and technical analysis from the Department of Energy.

Processes for updating building energy codes vary by state. In some states, legislatures initiate the process. In these states, governors can introduce or support legislation that includes code updates. In other states, code authorities are tasked with reviewing and updating codes. These authorities may be directly overseen by the governor’s office, or they may be housed within a state agency like the energy office or planning office. 

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