Questions and Answers on
Adoption of the
2003 International Energy Conservation Code
March 5, 2004
What does LB
LB 888 adopts the 2003 International Energy Conservation Code
as Nebraskas energy building code for residential and commercial
buildings constructed after July 1, 2005.
Why is LB 888
Nebraska currently uses the 1983 Model
Energy Code. Since that code was adopted
over 20 years ago, significant improvements in energy efficiency technology
and practices have occurred that are not required by the code currently in use.
The wise use of energy is the key to reducing the cost
of owning and operating buildings. The Legislature recognized this when it adopted
the 2000 International Energy Conservation
Code for state‑owned and funded buildings (§§72-804-805).
LB 888 extends those benefits to all Nebraskans.
What have other
states done to their building codes?
Nebraska is currently one of only 11
states with building energy codes that fall below the standards
of the 1992 Model Energy Code. If Nebraska were to upgrade its building
energy code to the 2003 International
Energy Conservation Code, it would be joining nearly half of the states
that have made the same decision. Kansas, for example, adopted the 2003 International Energy Conservation Code in 2003.
Many other states that share the same climate zones as Nebraska New York, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Ohio, Washington, Wisconsin, and Utah have adopted the 2000 or 2003 International Energy Conservation Code.
What are the
benefits of adopting LB 888?
on a study by the University of Nebraska Lincoln, upgrading the energy building
code proposed by LB 888 will have significant economic benefits for Nebraska homeowners. By adopting the 2003 International Energy Conservation Code, Nebraskans buying new homes will begin to save money in the
first year of home ownership. Depending
on the location and the size of the house, the annual net savings range from
$25 to $124. The energy savings will
grow as future energy costs rise, insulating homeowners from the negative impact
of energy cost surges. The study, Life
Cycle Cost Analysis of the 2000 International Energy Conservation Code for Nebraska,
is on the Nebraska Energy Office web site at http://www.nol.org/home/NEO/reports/unl_mec_study.htm.
The chart above illustrates the annual mortgage increase or decrease and the
first year energy savings for different sized houses in Nebraskas four climate zones
Chadron, McCook, Norfolk, and Omaha are communities in those zones
and were selected for examination under the study:
How will LB 888
affect first-time homeowners?
What makes the benefits of LB 888 even more compelling is that they have an
extremely modest impact on mortgage payments.
Buyers of new homes in typical Nebraska jurisdictions can expect to pay less than $2 a month
in additional mortgage payments, and they may even see a small mortgage payment
reduction. In fact, Nebraskans buying homes that meet the
2003 International Energy Conservation Code requirements will be eligible
for larger mortgages through Fannie Mae without any increase in income requirements,
evidence that no first-time homeowner will be excluded from the housing market. LB 888 will benefit all Nebraskans from all
What fiscal impact
will LB 888 have on the states budget and the states economy?
will be no negative impact on the state budget.
No state funds will be used to implement the training requirements in
LB 888. The U.S. Department of Energy will provide federal
funds for this purpose.
However, many overlook the impact poor construction and lower energy codes
have on other state programs and the state budget. For example, many Nebraskans living in energy
inefficient homes turn to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, Weatherization
Assistance Program, and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
for help in paying heating and cooling bills and for more insulation and better
windows and doors. Adopting LB 888 will
help reduce these budget impacts over the long-term.
By reducing Nebraskans energy bills, LB 888 can reduce the amount of money
that leaves the state to buy imported energy such as natural gas from Kansas and Canada, and coal from Wyoming. Building energy codes can also reduce the nations
dependency on foreign fuels at a time when the worlds energy situation
is very volatile, and can reduce the need for more power plants.
will be provided to local building code officials and contractors?
implementation and enforcement of the 2003
International Energy Conservation Code
will require training and coordination with the states builders and code
officials. The State Energy Office is
ready to provide the training proposed in section 14 of LB 888. All training and supporting materials will be
available before LB 888s implementation date of July
This was provided to Senators during debate on LB888 on March 9, 2004