Outcome-Based Energy Codes Focus on Building Performance

Evaluating energy codes on a scale

Consulting-Specifying Engineer, November 12, 2014

Since the launch of various energy codes, energy engineers have compared their proposed energy model to a baseline energy model via a “percent better than code” metric. Whether this metric is a percent energy savings or percent energy cost savings output, what significance does this value have outside of the realm of the specific code or standard under which the model was analyzed? What adjustments must be made to correlate a project’s energy model percent savings to determine how close the project is to a long-term target of net zero, or even compare against that of an alternative project’s performance?

ASHRAE Standard 189.1 and the International Code Council’s (ICC) International Green Construction Code (IgCC) are leading the way to high-performance green buildings, and this article will dig deep into how these two “maps to net-zero” handle the enigma of percent better than code, with the outright goal being to have updates to energy codes be evaluated on a scale, as opposed to having code updates redefine the scale by way of evolving the use of “percent from zero.”

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