North Carolina Building Code Council Evaluates Proposed Code Changes to Increase Energy Efficiency in Construction 

April, 2023 - Stephanie U. Eaton

The N.C. Building Code Council is required by North Carolina law to reevaluate the building code every six years. In light of climate change legislation enacted in North Carolina on the heels of Governor Cooper’s 2019 Clean Energy Plan, changes to the energy code are being considered that would result in an 18 percent increase in energy efficiency for new homes. These code changes are in line with the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code.
Representatives of various home builders criticized the potential energy code changes, particularly with regard to framing and insulation requirements, which they argue would make homes more expensive at a time when there is an affordability crisis.  The Chair of the Building Code Council’s energy ad hoc committee, however, emphasized and stressed that according to an analysis conducted for the Council, the increased energy efficiency of the new homes would be paid off within four years, and the energy efficiency improvements will create about 60,000 jobs in the state over 30 years and save consumers about $5 billion in energy costs. 
The Council is accepting comments on the proposed changes until April 17, 2023 by email to Carl Martin at [email protected] or by letter to Carl Martin, Secretary, NC Building Code Council, NC Dept. of Insurance, 1202 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1202. The Council will vote on the code changes at its June 2023 meeting, and if the Council approves the changes, then opponents of the code changes can write to the N.C. Rules Review Commission to explain why they oppose the change. Thereafter, any member of the North Carolina House or Senate could introduce a bill to strike the Council’s rule down. 
If the Energy Code is not changed by July 1, 2024, the current code will remain in effect until 2031. Thus, the outcome of the potential energy code changes is very important, as it will impact the course of construction, the potential energy efficiency job market and the state’s ability to meet its climate change goals.


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