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BUILDING CODES

& ENERGY EFFICIENCY:
KENTUCKY
Updated October 6, 2009

B
uildings account for roughly 40 percent of the
total energy use in the United States and 70
percent of our electricity use, representing a
significant opportunity for energy savings. New con-
struction is the most cost-effective point in the life of a
building to establish minimum energy efficiency ele-
ments. Building energy codes serve as a logical starting
point for comprehensive modern policies to reduce en-
ergy dependence and extend our natural resources. For
the Commonwealth of Kentucky, this next step should
be the adoption of the U.S. model energy codes, the
2009 International Energy Conservation Code Monetary savings derived from codes increase a con-
(IECC) and ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007. sumer's purchasing power, and help expand the
Commonwealth’s economy by keeping local dollars
In February 2009, the American Recovery and Rein-
in Kentucky.
vestment Act (Recovery Act) – the federal stimulus
legislation appropriating funds for a variety of state BUILDING INDUSTRY BENEFITS
initiatives – allocated $3.1 billion for the U.S. Depart-
ment of Energy’s State Energy Program (SEP) to assist The national model code, the 2009 IECC, offers
states with building energy efficiency efforts. As one flexibility to Kentucky builders and design profes-
of the requirements to receive this funding, Gov. Ste- sionals, allowing them to optimize the cost-
ven Beshear certified to DOE1 that Kentucky would effectiveness of energy efficient features in their
implement energy standards of equal or greater strin- building products, and to satisfy a variety of con-
gency than the latest national model codes—the 2009 sumer preferences.
edition of the IECC and Standard 90.1-2007. The 2009 IECC also simplifies guidelines for build-
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Having already received $26.2 million in federal SEP ers, providing a uniform code across the Common-
funding, Kentucky is eligible to receive an additional wealth with multiple options for compliance.
$26.3 million in grants upon demonstration of the suc- Uniformity throughout Kentucky will enable local
cessful implementation of its energy plans submitted to jurisdictions to pool limited resources and combine
DOE. To ensure the Commonwealth’s best economic personnel to form county-wide, regional and state-
interests, Kentucky should adopt the 2009 IECC and wide enforcement and educational programs.
Standard 90.1-2007 statewide and begin enjoying the
benefits of an efficient building sector. UTILITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS
ECONOMIC BENEFITS Energy codes improve the energy efficiency per-
formance of new buildings and reduce demand on
Consumers save money by reducing utility bills, power generators, therefore improving the air qual-
minimizing the negative impacts of fluctuations in ity of local communities and throughout Kentucky.
energy supply and cost, and conserving available
energy resources. Retail and office buildings con- Electricity use is a leading generator of air pollution.
structed to meet the requirements of the IECC can Rising power demand increases emissions of sul-
be over 30 percent more energy efficient than fur dioxide, nitrous oxides and carbon dioxide. En-
typical buildings not constructed to meet national ergy codes are a proven, cost-effective means for
model energy standards. addressing these and other environmental impacts.
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Washington, DC 20036
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A MODEL STATE ENERGY CODE FOR KENTUCKY
HOUSEHOLD PROSPERITY
In 2006, Kentucky ranked 46th in the nation in
per capita income, yet ranked 12th in per capita
energy expenditures.6 Energy expenses comprise
an economic drain on low-income communities.
Low-income households typically spend 17 per-
cent of their total annual income on energy, com-
pared with four percent for other households. Ac-
cording to some estimates, more than four-fifths of
energy expenses leave low-income communities.
Higher energy costs deprive these communities of
resources they need to generate additional economic
Natural Bridge State Park in Red River Gorge, Kentucky activity.

K
entucky’s current energy requirements3 AN UNTAPPED RESOURCE
for residential and commercial construc-
With its prodigious mining economy, Kentucky is
tion are respectively based on the 2006 In-
rich in energy resources. Kentucky can leverage
ternational Residential Code (IRC) and the 2006
these resources by using energy codes to increase
International Building Code (IBC). These codes,
the significant potential energy supply that im-
however, do not achieve the energy savings of the
proved building energy efficiency produces. Energy
2009 IECC. To achieve these gains, the compliance
prices are projected to rise exponentially over the
requirements in the energy efficiency chapters of
next decade, and the Commonwealth can enhance
the IRC and IBC should be deleted and replaced by
its energy security by reducing energy demand
the compliance options of the 2009 IECC.
within its borders. Wise management of Kentucky’s
The 2009 IECC4 improves upon the 2006 IECC and energy resources should include seizing the low-
will provide Kentucky households and businesses hanging fruit that is the energy savings improved
15 percent greater energy efficiency, as well as energy codes offer. Among the opportunities:
lower utility costs, increased comfort, and better If Kentucky updated its energy code to the 2009
economic opportunity. IECC and required adoption and enforcement by
all local jurisdictions, businesses and homeowners
ENERGY SUPPLIES would save an estimated $31 million annually
by 2020 and an estimated $59 million annually
Kentucky is the third-ranked coal-producing state in
by 2030 in energy costs (assuming 2006 energy
the nation, accounting for roughly one-tenth of U.S.
prices).
total coal production and more than 90 percent of
the Commonwealth’s electricity production, making Additionally, adopting and implementing the 2009
it one of the most coal-dependent states in the na- IECC statewide would help avoid roughly 10
tion5. Reducing local demand for electricity and trillion Btu of primary annual energy use by
natural gas would decrease costs for consumers and 2030 and annual emissions of roughly 700,000
increase profits for businesses. metric tons of CO2 by 2030.
** NOTES ** For more information, please visit www.bcap-ocean.org
1 4
US Dept. of Energy (http://www.energy.gov/media/Beshear_Kentucky.pdf) BCAP (http://bcap-energy.org/node/330)
2 5
US Dept. of Energy (http://www.energy.gov/news2009/7607.htm) US EIA (http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/state/state_energy_profiles.cfm?sid=KY)
3 6
BCAP (http://bcap-energy.org/node/79) US BEA (http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/regional/spi/2007/spi0307.htm)

1850 M St. NW Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036
www.bcap-ocean.org