Energy Codes

What are Energy Codes?

Energy codes set the minimum standard for the energy efficiency of buildings to ensure that homes and commercial buildings reduce their energy use, lower utility bills and improve occupant comfort.

Who Creates Them?

The International Code Council (ICC) and the American Society of Heating Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) develop and update building codes and standards on three-year cycles. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) reviews them to determine their efficiency and cost-effectiveness and makes recommendations for state adoption.

What is the Current Code?

The ICC 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) is the current model energy code. It references ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2016 for commercial construction. It is approximately 30 percent more energy efficient than the 2006 IECC.

What do they cover?

Energy codes address wall and ceiling insulation, window and door specifications, HVAC and ventilation equipment efficiency, and lighting fixtures, among other building features.

How do they relate to other building codes?

The IECC works in conjunction with the entire set of codes developed by the ICC. They are known as the I-Codes. The IECC acts as an alternative to Chapter 11 of the International Residential Code (IRC) and complement to the International Building Code (IBC). Beginning in the 2012 code cycle Chapter 11 of the IRC and the residential portions of the IECC are exactly the same.

Building Codes and Missouri

The State of Missouri has not adopted statewide energy codes or statewide building codes. However numerous municipalities and counties throughout Missouri have independently adopted the International Residential Code (IRC), International Building Code (IBC), and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The independent adoption of the codes allows Missouri municipalities and counties (all except class III) to adopt any combination of the IRC, IBC, and IECC and municipalities and counties may even forego code adoption. In addition to independently adopting I-Codes, municipalities and counties may adopt any cycle year version; 2000, 2003, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2015, 2018.

It is typical for Missouri communities to adopt codes on a 6-year cycle rather than the 3-year code development cycle for ICC. It is also typical for communities to follow the code adoption of surrounding communities. These adoption practices have developed two trends in Missouri; eastern Missouri communities are generally on the 2003 I-codes and are moving/have moved to the 2009 I-codes and western Missouri communities are generally on the 2006 I-codes and are moving to the 2012.

Division of Energy and Building Codes

As the governor designated State Energy Office the Division of Energy receives funding through the U.S. State Energy Program (SEP) administered by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for use in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and alternative energy generation demonstrations. With the passing of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 the DOE was called on to support the adoption and enforcement of energy codes in the states and has hence been an integral part of SEP activities. This effort gained greater attention when the passing of The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provided a new goal for DOE's building codes efforts - 90% compliance with energy code requirements for each state.

As the State Energy Office and recipient of the SEP funding the Division of Energy is engaged in building code efforts. These efforts include research on the current status of code adoption in Missouri, research on the costs and benefits of the codes, outreach to municipalities, efforts to increase knowledge and adoption of the codes and coordination with DOE and the regional code networks such as Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance.

Additional Resources

Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP) - BCAP is a joint initiative of the Alliance to Save Energy, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Since 1994, BCAP's goal has been to reduce building energy use by promoting the adoption, implementation and advancement of energy-efficient building codes and standards on the state and local levels and internationally.

Building Energy Codes Program (BECP) - The Building Energy Codes Program was funded in 1993 in response to the Energy Policy Act of 1992, which mandated that DOE participate in the model national codes development process and that DOE help states adopt and implement progressive energy codes.

Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) - The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) is a collaborative network advancing energy efficiency in the Midwest to support sustainable economic development and environmental preservation.