April 2023 is the effective date for implementation of the new energy codes as federal buildings are constructed—or retrofitted. Since the federal government owns more buildings then any other entity in the country, the impact could be significant.
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy observes that with 350,000 buildings, the United States has more buildings than any entity in the country. That’s why the new codes can play a significant role on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Construction Dive reports the new energy codes are anticipated to “save more than $15 billion in net costs over the next 30 years.” Beginning in April 2023, under the new code:
All new buildings and major retrofits constructed by the federal government must comply with more stringent energy code requirements, a move that the Department of Energy estimates will save $4.2 million in operating costs in the first year. Federal projects will be constructed to meet 2021 International Energy Conservation Code and the 2019 ASHRAE Standard 90.1 codes…The announcement builds upon the priorities of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which includes $225 million for state and local implementation of energy codes. It follows the launch of the White House’s Building Performance Standards Coalition, a partnership between more than 30 city and county governments along with the states of Colorado and Washington.
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Good to Know
Construction Dive explains that the 2019 edition of ASHRAE’s Standard 90.1 code, designed for HVAC professionals, updates over 100 energy focused standards. Meanwhile, 2021s IECC also contains significant changes, such as:
- Increased insulation requirements and reduced fenestration U-factors and solar heat gain coefficients for both residential and commercial provisions.
- Updated mechanical equipment efficiency requirements, new provisions for data centers and plant growth lighting.
- Increased lighting efficacy and decreased lighting power density requirements for commercial buildings.
Following The Federal Money?
To help communities across the country learn more about accessing the federal dollars, an“infrastructure school” webinar series has been set up by the administration, and a “one-stop-shop” Guidebook on the IIJA is available from The White House.
Amidst the buzz about the IIJA, industry experts are also reminding state construction leaders not to overlook the $350 billion that last year’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) allocated for states and municipalities under categories such as water infrastructure, highways, broadband and workforce development. Estimates indicate that about $155 billion of ARP funds went to states in 2021, and the remaining funds will be distributed this year. Since states must use these funds by 2026, it’s anticipated that ARP dollars will continue to drive big infrastructure initiatives at the state level.
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