Coming July 1, 2005...
Getting Ready for the New Nebraska Energy Code
The Nebraska Legislature adopted the 2003 International Energy Conservation Code as the Nebraska Energy Code effective July 1, 2005.
How will this affect Nebraskans? If you are building a new home or a commercial building after July 1, 2005, you will have to comply with the new statewide Nebraska Energy Code.
Local jurisdictions may adopt and enforce a lighting and thermal efficiency ordinance, resolution code or standard as long as it does not result in energy consumption greater than would result from the strict application of the Nebraska Energy Code.
Generally, building a new house to the updated code will save up to $125 a year in utility costs, depending on where the home is built. Savings will rise if the cost of energy rises.
Direct comparisons between the requirements of the 1983 Model Energy Code and the 2003 International Energy Conservation Code are complicated because of the significant changes in construction types, systems and products. In part, this is due to the new code allowing homeowners the option of “trading off” more efficient building options with less efficient options based on cost effectiveness. For example, installing a more energy efficient heating and cooling system will allow reduced efficiency requirements in other parts of the home such as less efficient windows or reduced insulation levels. The “trade off” allows the builder and homeowner to meet the minimum requirements of the code at the lowest cost.
To assist the state’s builders and codes officials, the Energy Office scheduled 19 workshops across the state. The first series of workshops on the new Nebraska Energy Code were completed in early December 2004, additional workshops for other groups — architects, engineers, builders and general contractors and heating, ventilating and air conditioning contractors — are scheduled for February, March and April 2005. Space remains available at most workshops. Early registration is recommended since seating is limited.
The International Code Council is a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing a single set of comprehensive and coordinated national model construction codes. The founders of the ICC are Building Officials and Code Administrators International, Inc. (BOCA), International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) and Southern Building Code Congress International, Inc. (SBCCI). The nation’s three model code groups created the International Code Council to develop codes without regional limitations.
Copies of the International Codes — the new Nebraska Energy Code — can be purchased from the International Code Council.
The series of workshops on the new code has been made possible by a 2004 State Energy Program Special Projects grant to the Energy Office from the U.S. Department of Energy. The work under this grant is scheduled for completion by June 30, 2005.