BUILDING CODES & ENERGY EFFICIENCY: MAINE

Updated January 11, 2010 ECONOMIC BENEFITS
Consumers save money by reducing utility bills, minimizing the negative impacts of fluctuations in energy supply and cost, and by conserving available energy resources. Retail and office buildings constructed to meet the requirements of the IECC can be over 30 percent more energy efficient than typical buildings not constructed to meet national model energy standards.

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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. 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 the state of Maine, the next step should be the adoption of 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 Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) – the federal stimulus legislation appropriating funds for a variety of state initiatives – allocated $3.1 billion for the U.S. Department of Energy’s State Energy Program (SEP) to assist states with building energy efficiency efforts. As one of the requirements to receive this funding, Gov. John Baldacci certified to DOE1 that Maine would implement energy standards of equal or greater stringency than the latest national model codes—the 2009 edition of the IECC and Standard 90.1-2007. Having already received $13.6 million2 in SEP funds, Maine is eligible to receive an additional $13.6 million in grants upon demonstration of the successful implementation of its energy plans submitted to DOE. It is in Maine’s best economic interest to adopt the 2009 IECC and Standard 90.1-2007 statewide and begin enjoying the benefits of an efficient building sector.

Monetary savings derived from codes increase a consumer's purchasing power, and help expand the state’s economy by keeping local dollars in Maine.

BUILDING INDUSTRY BENEFITS
The national model code, the 2009 IECC, offers flexibility to Maine builders and design professionals, allowing them to optimize the costeffectiveness of energy efficient features in their building products, and to satisfy a variety of consumer preferences. The 2009 IECC also simplifies guidelines for builders, providing a uniform code across the state with multiple options for compliance. Uniformity throughout Maine will enable local jurisdictions to pool limited resources and combine personnel to form county-wide, regional, and statewide enforcement and educational programs.

UTILITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS
Energy codes improve the energy efficiency performance of new buildings and reduce demand on power generators, therefore improving the air quality of local communities throughout Maine. Electricity use is a leading generator of air pollution. Rising power demand increases emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides and carbon dioxide. Energy codes are a proven, cost-effective means for addressing these and other environmental impacts.
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A MODEL STATE ENERGY CODE FOR MAINE

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Mount Katahdin, the highest peak in Maine, is the centerpiece of Baxter State Park (Credit—Creative Commons)

aine’s current commercial energy code is based on Standard 90.1-2004. Since 2005, its residential energy code has been based on the 2003 IECC, but is only voluntary.3 In April 2008, the state legislature passed LD 2257, establishing the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code, setting the 2009 IECC and Standard 90.1-2007 as mandatory residential and commercial standards statewide. Beginning July 2010, the new codes must be enforced in municipalities that adopted any building code by August 2008. Beginning July 2012, the codes must be enforced in municipalities that had not adopted any building code. Communities smaller than 2,000 residents are exempt.4 The 2009 IECC improves substantially upon the state’s codes and makes it simpler to provide Maine households and businesses lower utility costs, increased comfort, and better economic opportunity.5 A limited DOE analysis6 of the changes from states’ current residential codes to the 2009 IECC resulted in estimated energy savings ranging from 5-20 percent in most states for an average new house at recent fuel prices. Another DOE analysis7 of the changes from the state's current commercial code estimates energy savings of 11 percent from Standard 90.1-2007. When states regularly update and enforce their energy codes (in coordination with the three-year model code update cycles), they ensure the consistency and continued enhancement of the benefits of model building practice. By maintaining this commitment, Maine can demonstrate leadership on energy efficiency issues by meeting national standards.

and wind-powered generation. Natural gas has become the dominant fuel for power generation, accounting for at least 40 percent of generation since 2001. Renewable sources like wood, wood waste, and hydroelectric, account for almost half of Maine’s net power generation.8 Maine, along with much of the Northeast, is vulnerable to distillate fuel oil shortages and price spikes during the winter months due to high demand for home heating. The state also bears the 11th-highest residential electricity prices (over 25 percent above the national average)9 and the 16th-highest overall energy prices10, making the state quite vulnerable to future fluctuations in energy costs and peak demand. Reducing local demand for electricity and natural gas will decrease costs for consumers and increase profits for businesses.

AN UNTAPPED RESOURCE
Energy prices are projected to rise sharply over the next decade. By using energy codes to increase the significant potential energy supply improved building energy efficiency produces, Maine can enhance its energy security by reducing energy demand within its borders. Wise management of statewide energy policy should include seizing the low-hanging fruit that is the energy savings improved building energy codes offer: If Maine began implementing the 2009 IECC and Standard 90.1-2007 statewide in 2011, businesses and homeowners would save an estimated $30 million annually by 2020 and an estimated $60 million annually by 2030 in energy costs (assuming 2006 energy prices). Additionally, implementing the latest model codes would help avoid over 5 trillion Btu of primary annual energy use by 2030 and annual emissions of almost 400,000 metric tons of CO2 by 2030.
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ENERGY CONSUMPTION, PRICES & SUPPLIES
Maine has no fossil fuel reserves but has substantial renewable energy potential for hydroelectric, wood-fired,
** NOTES **
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US DOE (http://www.energy.gov/media/3141BaldacciMaine.pdf) 2 US DOE (http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/news/progress_alerts.cfm/pa_id=202) 3 BCAP (http://bcap-energy.org/node/72) 4 BCAP (http://bcap-energy.org/node/222) 5 BCAP (http://bcap-energy.org/node/330) 6 US DOE (http://www.energycodes.gov/implement/state_codes/reports/ IECC2009_Residential_Nationwide_Analysis.pdf)

US DOE (http://www.energycodes.gov/implement/state_codes/reports/commercial/ Commercial_Maine.pdf) 8 US EIA (http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/state/state_energy_profiles.cfm?sid=ME) 9 US EIA (http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/state/state_energy_rankings.cfm? keyid=18&orderid=1) 10 US EIA (http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/states/sep_sum/html/pdf/rank_pr.pdf)

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