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Updated February 1, 2010

uildings account for roughly 40 percent of the
total energy use in the United States and 70 per-
cent of our electricity use, representing a signifi-
cant opportunity for energy savings. Energy efficiency—
through the adoption and enforcement of strong building
energy codes – is the quickest, cheapest, and cleanest way
to reduce energy consumption and achieve a sustainable
and prosperous future. For most states, the first step has
been to adopt the U.S. model energy codes – the 2009
International Energy Conservation Code (2009 IECC)
and ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007.

In February 2009, the American Recovery and Rein-
vestment Act (Recovery Act) – the federal stimulus leg- By implementing the 2009 IECC and Standard 90.1-
islation appropriating funds for a variety of state initia- 2007 statewide beginning in 2010, Iowa businesses
tives – allocated $3.1 billion for the U.S. Department of and homeowners will save an estimated $30 million
Energy’s State Energy Program (SEP) to assist states with annually by 2020 and an estimated $60 million annu-
building energy efficiency projects. As one of the require- ally by 2030 in energy costs (based on 2006 energy
ments to receive this funding, Gov. Chet Culver certified prices).
to DOE1 that Iowa would implement energy standards of
equal or greater stringency than the latest national model Additionally, implementing the latest model codes will
codes – the 2009 edition of the IECC and Standard 90.1- help avoid roughly 8 trillion Btu of primary annual
2007. Having already received $20.3 million2 out of a energy use by 2030 and annual emissions of more
total $40.6 million in SEP funds, Iowa has advanced the than 500,000 metric tons of CO2 by 2030.
state’s best economic interest by adopting the 2009
IECC and Standard 90.1-2007 (by reference). OTHER BENEFITS OF THE 2009 IECC
THE ECONOMIC & ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF The successful implementation of and compliance with
THE NATIONAL MODEL ENERGY CODES the national model codes also produces multiple eco-
nomic and environmental benefits and gains for the
The 2009 IECC3 substantially improves upon the state’s building and utility industries:
current codes and makes it simpler to provide Iowa
households and businesses lower utility costs, increased New and renovated construction over 30 percent more
comfort, and better economic opportunity. A limited DOE energy efficient than typical buildings not constructed
analysis4 of the changes from state's current residential to meet national model energy standards
code to the 2009 IECC resulted in estimated energy
savings of 12-13 percent, or $245 to $276 a year for an Expansion of the state economy by keeping local dol-
average new house at recent fuel prices. Another DOE lars in Iowa
analysis5 of the changes from Iowa’s current commercial
code estimates energy savings of 5-6 percent from Stan- Simplified guidelines for builders and designers, cost-
dard 90.1-2007. effectiveness optimization, and uniformity throughout
the state
According to models created by the Building Codes As-
sistance Project, Iowa is poised to make substantial eco- Improved indoor/outdoor air quality and reduced
nomic and environmental gains in the next two decades greenhouse gas emissions from lower demand for elec-
by embracing building energy efficiency: tricity, natural gas, and heating oil
1850 M St. NW Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036
ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007 for nonresidential build-
ings, the new codes also contain several green amend-
ments, including cool roofs, on-site storm water reten-
tion, and low-flow residential and commercial plumbing
Many states have adopted the 2009 International Resi-
dential Code (2009 IRC) along with the IECC. For vari-
ous reasons, however, many builders use the energy effi-
ciency standards (Chapter 11) of the IRC, which DOE
has stated is not equivalent to the IECC and does not
Loess Hills near Mondamin, Iowa (Credit—Bill Whittaker) comply with Recovery Act requirements.11 States can

avoid contradictory compliance options by deleting
he Hawkeye State’s minimum mandatory energy Chapter 11 of the IRC and replacing it with a refer-
standards are codified in the Iowa State Energy ence to the 2009 IECC, as the 2010 Maryland Building
Code (661 IAC 303). In October 2009, the Iowa Performance Standards (MBPS) has done. The MBPS
Building Code Bureau approved the adoption of the 2009 also explicitly prohibit local amendments to the state
IECC and Standard 90.1-2007 (by reference) without code that weaken the stringency of its energy efficiency
amendment.6 The new statewide energy code became standards.12
effective on January 1, 2010 (although builders may still
use the 2006 IECC until April 1, 2010).7 UNIFORM VOLUNTARY “STRETCH CODE”
Adoption, however, is only the first step. The state In 2009, Massachusetts approved Appendix 120AA as an
must now implement its new code. As another condition optional amendment to its mandatory statewide building
of accepting the Recovery Act SEP funds, states must energy code.13 The appendix, which includes both resi-
achieve compliance with these new standards in 90 per- dential and commercial code language, is designed to be
cent of new and renovated residential and commercial about 30 percent more stringent than the 2006 IECC and
building space by 2017.8 ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2004. This optional "stretch
code" was developed in response to the call for improved
When states regularly update and enforce their energy local building energy efficiency. Towns and cities may
codes (as Iowa has in recent code cycles), they ensure adopt the appendix as a uniform alternative to the base
the consistency and continued enhancement of the bene- energy efficiency requirements of the state code, easing
fits of model building practice. Additionally, Iowa future transitions to strengthen the mandatory code.
should consider following the example of other states
that have proven to be leaders in energy efficiency by MANDATORY GREEN BUILDING CODE
continuing to develop and adopt innovative policies that In January 2010, California adopted the nation’s first
go beyond the national model codes. mandatory green building standards, known as CAL-
Green.14 Effective in 2011, the new code will require all
new buildings to reduce indoor water use by 20 percent
In 2008, in coordination with the D.C. Green Building and divert 50 percent of construction waste from land-
Advisory Council (GBAC), the District of Columbia fills. CALGreen also mandates inspections of energy
adopted the 2008 D.C. Construction Codes.9 Based on systems for large nonresidential buildings and the use of
the “30% Solution”10 for residential buildings low-pollutant emitting interior finish materials such as
(estimated to be more stringent than the 2009 IECC) and paints, carpet, vinyl flooring, and particle board.
** NOTES ** For more information, please visit
1 7
2 8
US DOE ( American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Sec. 410 (2) (c)
3 9
4 10
Residential_Iowa.pdf) US DOE (
5 12
US DOE ( MD Codes Admin. (
Commercial_Iowa.pdf) MA BBRS (
6 14
-january-1) -mandatory-green-building-standards)
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Washington, DC 20036