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Finalized 2021 Energy Code leaves out future-proofing provision

Appeals process nixed requirement for residential electrification readiness.

November 30, 2020 |

Courtesy Pixabay

The final 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for new residential and commercial buildings has been finalized.

The new code contains significant energy efficiency gains, including options for constructing zero energy homes and commercial buildings, but omits “the most innovative and forward-looking proposals,” writes Laura Urbanek of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Among the proposals that didn’t get approved was one that mandated residential electrification readiness (e.g., constructing a home so that it is easy to replace gas appliances with efficient and lower-carbon electric options in the future).

Also eliminated were provisions for electric vehicle readiness for homes and commercial buildings, efficiency requirements for residential water heaters, and a prohibition on continuously burning pilot lights. Builders and construction industry groups were able to remove these measures in the appeals process of the code’s development.

The code does notably upgrade several requirements for new buildings, though. “Of the 21 proposals that were appealed, 17 will remain in the final code, which will substantially increase the efficiency of new homes built to the 2021 IECC,” according to Urbanek.

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