New Buildings Institute Introduces a Building Decarbonization Model Code

Brian McCowan, Zondits staff, 11/9/2022

Expanding its focus on advanced building energy codes, New Buildings Institute (NBI) has announced the release of a new model code with a focus on decarbonizing the U.S. residential and commercial building stocks. Model codes are intended to be used as templates for developing and adopting new building codes. Advanced model codes are typically adopted as “stretch” or “reach” codes that promote improved energy performance compared to buildings built to mandatory “base” codes. As experience with reach codes is gained, many of the provisions are then adopted as elements of updated base codes.

According to NBI, the goal of the Building Decarbonization Code is to deliver carbon-neutral building performance. Like most reach codes, the code structure is designed to work with the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and ASHRAE standard 90.1. NBI will be working with states and municipalities to reduce GHG emissions resulting from building systems through a combination of efficiency, renewable energy, and electrification.

The initial edition of the code focuses on new construction with the intention of adding provisions for existing building renovations in subsequent versions. NBI stresses that the code prioritizes efficient electric end-uses, but also offers mixed-fuel options, and should not be considered an “all-electric” code.

A copy of the code in Adobe PDF format as well as an incremental cost study and both residential and commercial building fact sheets are available here.