Building codes should be a part of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, and omitting them means missing an opportunity for substantial energy savings, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
The Clean Power Plan, proposed on June 2, is aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from fossil-fired electric-generating units. It offers state-specific emission-rate-based goals.
The Plan also offers four “building blocks” for states to meet their targets:
- Make fossil fuel power plants more efficient.
- Use more low-emitting power sources, such as natural gas combined cycle units.
- Use more zero- and low-emitting power sources, such as renewables or nuclear.
- Use electricity more efficiently.
ACEEE notes that with approximately 70 percent of electricity in the US consumed by buildings, codes could provide large energy savings, which ties directly to one of the Plan’s building blocks.
In a recent report, ACEEE found that more than 155 million MWh of energy could be saved by 2030 by updating and adopting commercial residential codes. This could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 106 million tons that same year, which is a significant portion of the Plan’s goal.
ACEEE also notes that adding building codes would allow for the implementation of energy efficiency technology at the most cost-effective point in the life of a building, which is during its construction.
Comments on the Plan are due by Oct. 16, and ACEEE urges input to the EPA before the comment period ends.