Energy codes are minimum requirements for efficient design and construction for new and renovated residential and commercial buildings. Homes constructed to meet the model energy code use less energy, meaning the homeowner spends less on utilities! It also improves the comfort level of the home. Do you have a room that is always hotter than others? Have annoying cold drafts coming from under you door and near your windows? The more efficient your house is, the less this happens and the more comfortable you are.
And of course there are tremendous environmental benefits from better energy codes. In the United States, buildings use one-third of our total energy, two-thirds of our electricity, and one-eighth of our water and transform land that provides valuable ecological services. Atmospheric emissions from buildings’ energy use lead to acid rain, ground-level ozone, smog, and global climate change.
Other benefits? New jobs, a stimulated economy and a happier community, just to name a few.
Every homeowner can retrofit their home and make a substantial difference. But better yet, imagine new buildings already being built up to a higher code. Future spending on retrofits and energy bills will be knocked out from the start.
Consumers Union works for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves. Energy codes affect a majority of the population but are often overlooked as a consumer issue. Strong energy codes help not only people moving into new homes but future buyers and the community as a whole.
The goal of our energy code work is to educate the public on the importance of energy codes and to help them become their own advocates for code improvement and enforcement. CU is working with the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP) and state and local organizations to reach as many people and as many communities as possible. We want everyone to remember that strong energy codes help not only people moving into new homes but future buyers and the community as a whole!
How to Get Involved
If you’re an individual:
Help your community adopt the most recent code! Check out our Guide for Advocates. Educate your community or city council with our Consumer Engagement in Energy Codes presentation. Need more ideas? Contact us!
If you’re an organization:
We would love to work with you to help educate consumers and work for updated codes! Please feel free to print our toolkit and other resources to use at events, meetings or in your other efforts as well as post them to your website. Just let us know so we can find out what audiences they are reaching. Please contact Shannon Baker-Branstetter to discuss further opportunities for collaboration. We welcome new ideas!
Consumers Want Energy Efficient Homes!
Consumer Reports and BCAP’s national survey found that a majority of consumers surveyed agreed with the following statements:
- Homebuilders should not make less efficient homes at the consumers’ expense (73%)
- Energy codes would help my energy bills be more affordable and predictable (71%)
- Energy codes help make homes more comfortable to live in (68%)
- Energy code standards will help to ensure quality home construction (70%)
- Energy codes should be enforced like other safety and quality standards of construction (75%)
- Homeowners should have a right to a home that meets national energy standards (82%)
- Energy code standards will help ensure that homeowner and taxpayer dollars are used wisely and efficiently as new building will be required to be built right the first time (74%)
- I would rather pay slightly more for a new home and have affordable, predictable operating costs and energy bills (79%)
For more survey details, click here.
What’s your state’s status?
Find out if your state has the most current code by visiting BCAP’s residential map.