America’s Mayors Resolve to Strengthen 2018 IECC

America’s mayors delivered a crystal clear message at their June annual meeting: Energy codes protect our homeowners and tenants, our grids, and our Nation.

In 2008, Austin Mayor Will Wynn told the US Conference of Mayors (USCM) Energy Committee he chaired that because America’s model building energy code–the International Energy Conservation Code, or IECC–is developed by local and state officials, mayors have a unique opportunity to play a substantial role in national energy policy.  Our homes and commercial buildings are the “elephant in the room” of energy consumption, using 42% of all energy, 54% of our natural gas, and 71% of our electricity.

On June 27 this year, the USCM unanimously adopted Resolution 49 in support of putting America’s Model Building Energy Code–the IECC–on a path of reasonable, but steady improvements toward net zero building construction. Mayors made it clear they do not want the 2018 IECC, which will be finalized this November, to be the first energy code that is weaker than the IECC it updates.

They know that the power is in cities’ and code officials’ hands, that when it comes to IECC updates every three years, the lion’s share of the governmental voting comes from municipal employees whose voting on the last three IECC updates has boosted new home energy efficiency by a total of 38%!  The mayors’ resolution:

  • Warns of the threat of proposals that roll-back or trade away the efficiency of the current 2015 IECC,
  • Calls for a modest 5% boost for the 2018 IECC, setting a sensible course that would achieve net zero homes by 2050, and
  • Encourages mayors to ensure Governmental Member of the International Code Council cast their full slate of 4, 8, or 12 votes electronically this November.

In doing so, mayors are delivering a strong message that our nation needs to continue to reap the benefits of ever-more efficient homes and commercials buildings:

  • Enhancing homeowner financial stability, improving home comfort, and increasing home resale values,
  • Lowering energy bills to owners, putting tens of thousands of dollars in the wallets of families owning efficient homes over the 70-100 years they stand,
  • Lowering energy costs to tenants (because landlords can pass the cost of energy on to their tenants, energy codes are one of the strongest incentives to efficient apartments and rental property),
  • Stabilizing power grids with buildings that perform better during heat waves and cold spells when energy demand and cost is highest,
  • Enhancing our national energy and environmental policy, by reducing energy and climate emissions from their largest source.

Writing about the potential 2018 IECC rollback and trade-off proposals in my April blog post, I asked “Whose Code Is It Anyway?”  Based on the mayors’ leadership, it’s clear that they know that the IECC belongs to the local and state governmental members that develop it.

Read Resolution 49 here.

Watch Mayors Discuss Building Energy Efficiency.

Watch excerpts of the USCM Forum on the 2018 IECC, or view the USCM Forum in its entirety.

For more detail, check out my perspective on the resolution passing and a recap of the weekend.