Excitement in Charlotte? Building Code Nerds to determine next energy codes next week

Rife with knowledge of Solar Heat Gain Coefficients and R-values, hundreds of municipal government officials from around the country will descend on Charlotte, North Carolina for the International Codes Council starting this week-end. Front and center on their agenda will be a vote to determine which of multiple different versions of the International Energy and Conservation Code they will adopt for 2012. Sierra Club’s Rebuilding America Through Codes campaign will be at the conference in full green regalia, supporting what is called the 30% solution as part of the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition. That solution would require new buildings built to the 2012 code to be 30% more efficient than the 2006 version and about 17% more efficient than the 2009 version.

Locally, here in Texas, Sierra Club has been working with our friends at Environment Texas and ICLEI to encourage local eligible officials to attend and to support the 30% solution, or if they can’t, at least support a slightly less rigorous alternative developed in concert with the Department of Energy. The Homebuilders are pushing a much less aggressive 2012 version of their own. Houston, Denton, Garland,  El Paso, Austin and San Antonio, among others, will all be sending representatives and we hope to see them vote right.

Only last month, El Paso became the latest city in Texas to adopt the 2009 IECC, while also passing a greenbuilding resolution to begin working on local amendments to improve the code next year. Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston are already state leaders on energy efficient building codes and we hope all of these cities will support the more aggressive codes. Corpus and Bryan have announced they will adopt the 2009 code early next year.

With the dangers of air pollution, climate change and natural resource degradation from fossil fuels well documented, clean energy solutions like building energy codes will be key to getting us to transition away from dirty energy solutions. You can follow the action live starting Wednesday on twitter.

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